Functionalist Theories

Functionalist Theories - by various means: ideological...

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Functionalist Theories Functionalists see rise of state systems as driven by reciprocity , a "social contract" (as Hobbes argued over 300 yrs ago) In this view, centralized rule is a bargain that benefits everyone: citizens pay taxes (share of crops, labor, etc.) and give up some freedom, and in return the state provides public order, military security, various public works (e.g., irrigation, highways, public buildings) Conflict theorists (of whom the most famous/influential is Marx) see states as essentially exploitative , primarily benefiting ruling elites, and arising only when masses must submit Functional theories emphasize mutualistic relations between elites and commoners; elites are seen as providing managerial benefits, and the commoners' part of the bargain is to produce the surplus necessary to adequately reward these services Conflict theories by contrast see elites as parasitic, extracting surplus from commoners
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Unformatted text preview: by various means: ideological control (patriotism, theocracy, etc.), monopoly on technical knowledge, and (if necessary) force What about more specific scenarios of the development of stratification? Older theories (popular in 19th century) viewed social stratification as a manifestation of the general "progress" & increase in complexity characteristic of sociocultural evolution Modern scholars dismiss these arguments as teleological (societies don't have any automatic tendency to become more complex), tautological (they simple re-label what needs to be explained, and call it the cause), and ethnocentric (they position modern states as proper culmination of last 40,000 yrs of human history) Following the discrediting of these "social progress" explanations, many social theorists sought to isolate a "prime mover" (key variable, primary cause) responsible for development of stratification...
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This note was uploaded on 11/22/2011 for the course ANT ANT2000 taught by Professor Monicaoyola during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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