RTF - Week 1 What are the main premises of the...

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Week 1 What are the main premises of the order-functional and power-conflict paradigms as general theoretical constructs? B. How do these paradigms relate to the general concerns of nineteenth-century West European sociologists and their thinking about race and ethnicity? What is a Functionalist Theory? A sociological theory that attempts to determine the functions, or uses, of the main ways in which a society is organized. Conflict Theory A. What is Conflict Theory? The general underlying assumption associated with conflict theory is that society is made up of groups with competing self-interests . Often the competing groups have unequal power. People compete for resources that are in scarce supply. Generally, the resources that are in short supply involve wealth and power. Conflict theory generally consists of the following four points. 1. Conflict Built into Society Societies naturally tend toward conflict. This occurs because wealth and power are distributed unequally ; therefore, different social groups have different and conflicting interests 2. One Group Becomes Dominant Because competing interest groups have unequal power, one group usually becomes dominant. The dominant group then uses its power to control most or all other aspects of the social structure. The dominant group can ensure that society operates in a way that serves the interests of the dominant group . As a result the dominant group controls a vastly disproportionate share of scarce resources such as wealth and social status 3. Consensus is Artificial When a consensus appears in a society, it is usually artificial and is unlikely to persist over the long run . A Functionalist might argue that consensus is "necessary" and is, therefore, automatically something desired by all concerned. The conflict theorist contends that a consensus in a society is either based on coercion and/or repression by the dominant group . 4. Conflict in Society is Desirable Conflict is desirable because it makes possible social change which may lead to more equitable distribution of wealth and power 5. Ideology A central assumption of Marxist theory is that the distribution of wealth by and large determines other aspects
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of society, such as the political system and the characteristics of culture. This includes the norms, values, and beliefs of the culture. The norms, values, and beliefs of the culture are such that they legitimize the control of wealth. Everyone, the rich and poor alike, accept the cultural beliefs as just and correct. Marx, however, argued that beliefs in the dominant ideology is not in the interest of the subordinate group. Marx referred to the pattern of the subordinate group's acceptance of an ideology that goes against it's own self interest as false-consciousness.
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RTF - Week 1 What are the main premises of the...

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