A major criticism that has been levelled against conflict theory is that it focuses on class-based inequalities and overlooks other kings of inequalities that people experiences • The second criticism concerns the question of the extent to which people can overcome their social class status • The conflict perspective emphasize the powerful influences of social class and overlooks the fact that many people can overcome disadvantaged socio-economic background and achieve economic success Features of Conflict Theory (1) Focuses on large, macro-level structures, such as the relations between or among classes (2) Conflict theory shows how major patterns of inequality in society produce social stability in some circumstances and social change in others (3) Conflict theory stresses how members of privileged groups try to maintain their advantages while subordinate groups struggle to increase theirs. From this point of view, social conditions at a given time are the expression of an ongoing power struggle between privileged and subordinate groups 7
Sunday, September 15, 2019 (4) Typically leads to the suggestion that decreasing privilege will lower the level of conflict and increase the sum total of human welfare Symbolic Interactionism • Criticized for placing too much emphasis on micro-level interactions neglecting how larger social structures shape our interactions • Critics charge that there is an external social structure that shapes our life chances and opportunities and that individual cannot escape social structure through their interactions with others • A second criticism is that a perspective that focusses micro-interactions is not conducive to creating social policies to address larger social problems and inequalities Four Theories (1) The focus on face-to-face. Communication or interaction in micro-level social setting (1) This features distinguishes it from both the functionalist and the conflict paradigms (2) Symbolic interactionism emphasizes that an adequate explanation of social behaviour requires understanding the subjective meaning people attach to their social circumstances (3) Symbolic interactionism stresses that people help to create their social circumstances and do not merely react to them (4) By underscoring the subjective meaning people create in small social settings, symbolic interactionism validates unpopular and non-o ﬃ cial viewpoints, thus increasing our understanding and tolerance of people who may be di ff erent from us Social Constructionism and Queer Theory • Social Constructionism: argue that when people interact they typically assume things are naturally or innately what they seem to be, but in reality apparently natural 8
Sunday, September 15, 2019 or innate features of life are sustained by social process that vary historically and culturally • Queer Theory: Takes the social constructionist argument a step farther by denying the very existence of stable identities • Gay, male , female Feminist Theory • This theory is criticized on the concept of patriarchy •
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