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SOC 101 (300)
Lecture 2

Lecture Note 2 Week 2

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SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Sociology Lecture 2 • Functionalism • Symbolic Interactionism • Conflict • Feminist Theory formed the basic foundation for sociology Functionalism • Institutions we have created as a society work because we have made them though consensus. Society is how we designed it to work • Prepares people for the school and work • Social world is a dynamic system of interrelated and interdependent parts • Society is how we designed it to work • Social structures exist to help people fulfill their wants and desires  e.g governmental take care of country, religious institutions take care of religion • Human society is similar to an organism when it fails to work together the “system” will fail.  society has to do its part • Functionalists know that things can go wrong but believe it can be fixed • Society must meet the needs of the majority • Dominant theoretical paradigm between the late 1920s and the early 1960s Functionalist Theorists Herbert Spencer • Survival of the fittest justifies why only the strong should survive • Social Darwinism draws upon Darwin’s idea of natural selection o Laissez-faire approach (opposes regulation of or interference with natural processes) **Emile Durkheim • FOUNDER OF MODERN SOCIOLOGY • Human action originates in the collective other than the individual • Behaviour is driven by the collective conscience • Social Facts are general social features that exist on their own and are independent of individual • Anomie is a state of normlessness that results from the lack of clear goals and creates feelings of confusion that may ultimately result in higher suicide rates • Found that roman catholics have a more supportive background; whereas, Protestants did not • First professor of education • Mechanic solidarity describes early societies based on similarities and independence  Small community, people depending on others • Organic solidarity describes later societies organized around interdependence and the increasing division of labour Talcott Parsons • Social Action Theory is a framework which attempts to separate behaviours from actions to explain why people do what they do Four Functional Imperatives (AGIL) 1. Adaptation 2. Goal Attainment 3. Integration 4. Latent Robert K. Merton • Developed “functionalism” • Social structures may have many functions • Shared many concepts with Talcott Parsons • Manifest Functions of Societal Institutions: Institutions are thought to perform the functions for which they were designed. Intended functions. • Latent Functions: Institutions actually perform a number of functions not in their intended design. Non-intended functions. Critiques of functionalist approaches • Inability to account for social change • Overemphasis on the extent to which harmony and stability actually exist in society (we don’t always agree) Conflict Theory • Society is grounded upon inequality and competition • Power is the core of all social relationships; scarce and unequally divided among members of society • Social values and the DOMINANT IDEOLOGY are the vehicles by which the powerful promote their own interests at the expense of the weak Karl Marx (1818-1883) • Dynamic relationship between the material and social elements of society • Base: material and economic foundation for society. Includes the forces and relations of production • Superstructure: all of the things that society values and aspires to once its material needs are met. Includes religion, politics and law. (institutions we’ve created once we’ve met the basic needs) • Key to human history is class; class is founded in conflict (we are in conflict for the basic needs of life food, shelter etc) • Bourgeoisie – those that own means of production (capital, land, machines, factories) are in conflict with the • Proletariat – the exploited class, the workers who do not own the means of production  opposite of bourgeoisie • Struggle can only end when members of working class unite in revolution Important concepts (Marx) • Alienation: • Exploitation: • Ideology: • False consciousness: • Class consciousness: Critiques of Conflict Theory • What about when there is a consensus?
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