Conflict and functionalist theory

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  • I think the author of this powerpoint should be aware that the man in the picture on the right is Max Weber, not Emile Durkheim. Weber is a conflict theorist, but he was labeled incorrectly.
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    Social Dimension of Education
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  • 1. Conflict/Functionalist Theories
    Begins with Marx and his analysis of history
    Thesis/antithesis = struggle (conflict)
    Synthesis = a new order is produced because of the struggle between the classes
    All of history can be understood in this way
    Three stages of history: feudalism, capitalism & socialism (it was an inevitable destination!)
    (Many call it communism)
  • 3. Always a struggle
    The materialist  view of history = the most important determinant of social life is the work people are doing, especially work that results in provision of the basic necessities of life, food, clothing and shelter. 
    Marx thought that the way the work is socially organized and the technology used in production will have a strong impact on every other aspect of society.
  • 4. Power=ownership
    He maintained that everything of value in society results from human labour. Thus, Marx saw working men and women as engaged in making society, in creating the conditions for their own existence.
    Every part of human history and existence must be understood through the lens of social/economic theory
    All relationships are based on conflict/struggle
    Who has the power? Who wants it? Who owns the resources?
  • 5. Only 1 institution: private property
    The central institution of capitalist society is private property, the system by which capital (that is, money, machines, tools, factories, and other material objects used in production) is controlled by a small minority of the population. This leads to two opposed classes, the owners of capital (called the bourgeoisie) and the workers (called the proletariat), whose only property is their own labour time, which they have to sell to the capitalists.
  • 6. Economic exploitation leads directly to political oppression, as owners make use of their economic power to gain control of the state and turn it into a servant of bourgeois economic interests. Police power, for instance, is used to enforce property rights and guarantee unfair contracts between capitalist and worker.
  • 7. Conflict theory + marriage
  • 8. The Marriage Scam
    Built on Marx’s ideas
    Monogamy is an invention to control sexual reproduction
    Marriage is a social construct to guarantee private property to biological children
    Conclusion: marriage is exploitation of women
  • 9. Oppression is everywhere!
     The economic structure of society moulds the superstructure, including ideas (e.g., morality, ideologies, art, and literature) and the social institutions that support the class structure of society (e.g., the state, the educational system, the family, and religious institutions).
    What do you think? Is school oppressive?
  • 10. Conflict theory & private schools
     Because the dominant or ruling class (the bourgeoisie) controls the social relations of production, the dominant ideology in capitalist society is that of the ruling class.
    Ideology and social institutions, in turn, serve to reproduce and perpetuate the economic class structure. 
    Does private school education perpetuate the class system? What do you think?
  • 11. Functionalist theory / Durkheim
    First theory in sociology
    Two fundamentals:
    1- application of scientific method (sociologists must be objective & without bias)
    2- institutions fulfill basic human needs and all groups play a role in achieving equilibrium
  • 12. Balance, equilibrium, stability
    Key words for functionalism
    Think of any system that must co-ordinate its parts for survival (body & organs)
    A social system with needs that must be met
    When change in one group happens, other groups must adjust, adapt, accommodate for the change, finding the equilibrium again
  • 13. A society is
    A system of inter-related “parts”
    A change in one affects the others
    Most changes are the result of “evolution” or natural progression of ideas and social change
    Durkheim was influenced by Darwin`s work
    Functionalism focuses on the individual and how social forces influence him (Macro perspective)
  • 14. The social self
    Functionalism understands the individual to be a product of social forces in the environment
    Almost puppet-like (has been the criticism)
    The individual`s place in the social structure will determine their actions
    Internalized social expectations and act accordingly in order to satisfy the needs of the group
    Social control may be explicit or implicit
  • 15. Functionalist want to PREDICT behaviour
    This explains the emphasis on the scientific method
    Shared values (solidarity) is key to group cohesiveness
    Example: laws, rules, constitutions are an explicit expression of supreme values (justice, freedom) that are held in common by a group/society
  • 16. Functionalism is a macro approach to studying society; it defines society as a system of interrelated parts.
     A good metaphor is the body with its interrelated organs that all work together to produce the state of health of the person.  It has built in mechanisms that maintain stasis or balance.  (Sweating, shivering, etc.)
  • 17.  In society, when things happen to provoke change or throw it off kilter, other mechanisms come into play to help bring back to a balance.  Sometimes this new balance is slow change, in the case of people`s values changing faster than the laws or the other way around.  What examples can you think of to prove this theory?  
  • 18. Conflict + Functionalist