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Sociological Theorists

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Sheldon Ungar

Study Notes pg 16-18 Sociological Theory and Theorists Major theoretical tradition in Sociology A - Functionalism Feature of functionalism 1. Focuses on relatively stable patterns of social structure – Mainly macro a. (i.e. MS’s words: general (stable) characteristics of a society 2. Social structures maintain or undermine social stability a. If you change a social structure (ex: introduce industrialism, it can effect social stability) 3. Emphasis: social structures based mainly on shared values and preferences a. Social solidarity – moral cement that binds people together 4. Re-establishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems a. Ex. Association of employers, workers, teachers, students, men, women, sports people, etc. can help re-establish equilibrium Talcott Parsons – best known for identifying how various institutions must work to ensure the smooth operation of society. Ex: School, army, church, family unit, etc.  Merton – Social structures may impact different groups differently, and have dysfunctional consequences.  Other functions – Manifest functions (Intended)  Some others – Latent functions (unintended) Example, a school has multiple functions:  Manifest – Passing information from generation to generation.  Latent – Encourage development of a separate youth culture and often conflicts with parent’s values. B - Conflict Theory Emphasizes the centrality of conflicts in social life. 1. Generally focuses on macro structures, in general struggle of high and low standing (groups) a. Ex: class relations, domination / submission, 2. Conflict theory shows how major
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