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Sociological Theory and Theorists on mid-term exam

Course Code
Mc Kinon
Study Guide

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Sociological Theory and Theorists
Durkheim theory of suicide is an example of functionalism, they incorporate 4 features:
1.Human behaviour is government by relativity stable social behaviours
2.Social structure maintain or under maintain social stability
3.Social structures are mainly based on shared values and beliefs, Durkheim think
social solidarity as a sort of moral cement that binds people together
4.Re-establishing equilibrium can best solve social problems; ex. Establishing
unions associations that binds workers together as a result of fewer or no strikes
North American Functionalist
Talcott Parsons (identifying how various institutions must work to ensure the
smooth operation of society as a whole)
Robert Merton (social structures may have different consequences for different
groups of people) Manifest functions and Latent functions/ Dysfunctional
S.D.Clark (studies of Canadian social development as a process of disorganization
and reorganization on a series of economic frontiers; his emphasis on the way society
re-establishing equilibrium after experiencing disruptions caused by economic
Conflict Theory
Focus on macro level structures and shows how major patterns of inequality in society
produce social stability in some circumstances and social change in others
Focus on class relations, patterns of domination, submissions, and struggle between
people of high and low standing
Conflict theory stress 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
Conflict theory leads to the suggestion that eliminating privilege will lower the level
of conflict and increase total human welfare
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