While both functionalism and Marxist theory view conflict as a necessary act in society, functionalism widely varies from conflict or Marxist theory. Functionalism views society to be harmonious system; while there are different parts within the system it ultimately works together. Contrarily, conflict theory suggests that society is driven by conflicting and contesting groups of people with different interests and opinions. In the conflict theory competition drives conflict which motive change by way of war or revolution throughout society. Conflict theory does not hypothesize change in society to evolve slowly, but rather dramatically and all at once by way of revolution. A functionalist views society holistically; each person has their role within a social institution that helps progress and drive society and while there is conflict all parts of society are interconnected to maintain a functioning society. Looking specifically how these societal theories view inequality they differ again. Functionalists believe that the interrelationship between different social institutions drives a peaceful society, in such, it is necessary that the most equipped and proficient people fill the most important positions within their respective social institutions. This while viewed by many as inequality in a functionalist perspective inequality is a necessary means at which people achieve their different roles in society. In order for society to progress inequality is necessary such that people may obtain their rightful roles. On the other hand, the conflict theory views inequality as unnecessary or inessential for a functioning society rather that it is a result of political conflict and discriminatory to less powerful societal groups.
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