Functionalism and Marxism Sample Essay

Functionalism and Marxism are traced back to theories adopted by sociologists in the 19th century. Marxism came from the German philosopher Karl Marx ( 1818-1883 ) . whereas Functionalism was originally derived by Auguste Compte ( 1798-1857 ) . It was so developed farther by Emile Durkheim ( 1858-1917 ) .

Functionalist theories portray society as a structured system. which have a set of interrelated parts ( or units ) which together form a whole. These units are the establishments within society such as the household. faith and instruction. These establishments are indispensable for keeping that society works harmoniously and orderly. Early functionalists such as Durkheim frequently drew an analogy between society and an being like the human organic structure. As the organic structure is reliant on all variety meats working decently. so is society. Functionalists argue a consensus theory. that societal values are learnt through different people and establishments e. g. schools and the household. these values are passed on from coevals to coevals.

Marxist theories are about category struggle instead than consensus. Similar to Functionalism Marx acknowledges the structural integrating of societies establishments such as political. legal or spiritual groups. which he describes as the superstructure. Unlike functionalism nevertheless Marx argued that instead than holding a harmonious consequence on society the superstructure is constructed upon an economic base ( capitalist economy ) this being the substructure. This causes a difference of involvements among societal groups which in bend leads to conflict.

A similarity between Marxism and functionalism is that they both normally adopt a positive attack and related methods. Positive sociology can be traced back to Auguste Compte who believed that scientific discipline could supply the nonsubjective truth about the universe.

While functionalism believes that persons were created by society and believes that people need to be controlled. through a “collective conscience” this provides a shared indoctrination for norms and values. Likewise Marxists believe people are guided by external forces but differ in that the restraints of the societal construction restrict the reason of the capable category ( Proletariat ) who are kept in a province of “false conscience” by the dominant opinion category ( Bourgeoisie ) political orientation. Taking the workplace as an illustration of external forces commanding the single Marxism feels that control does non take to unity. Marxists view the function of the laborer as unproductive and unfulfiling therefore taking to the disaffection of the worker. Functionalists on the other manus view the workplace as carry throughing a purposeful function for “socialisation” assisting to make the feeling of solidarity for the workers.

Social alteration is besides something that both Marxist and functionalists have really different positions on. Marxists see societal alteration as radical. Change will ensue because of the action of persons due to the inequalities in the capitalist’s society. through the consciousness of a “class consciousness. ” Functionalists view alteration as evolutionary. an illustration is if an establishment within society fails to carry through its intent it would be replaced by another establishment that will.

The societal establishment of the household is viewed by functionalists to be the best organizational footing for society ; Talcott Parsons ( 1955 ) insists that the household retains two “basic and irreducible functions” . These are the “primary socialization of children” and the “stabilisation of grownup personalities. ” The Marxist position asserts that the household is a merchandise of capitalist economy and is an exploitative establishment.

Marxism sees society dwelling of two categories. a capable category and a opinion category in resistance to this the functionalists argue that there are many categories in society. and point towards a division of labor. From a functionalist position the inequality in society is seen to be functional and that authorization is given to those who can fulfill societal demands and high wagess to those in functionally of import places.

Talcott Parson argued that any societal system has “functional prerequisites” that must be met for society to work decently. He came up with the GAIL theoretical account. end attainment. version. integrating and latency. These four demands he explains “must be met adequately if equilibrium and/or go oning being of the system is to be maintained. ”

There are rather a few unfavorable judgments on both the functionalists and Marxists theories. Max Weber. an action theoretician opposed the thought that society could be studied as a natural scientific discipline and he took a micro position of society. Action theoreticians besides criticise the functionalists consensus theory stating that it idealises establishments like the household and legitimises inequality. Functionalisms is besides teleological. it does non bring forth testable hypothesis and is hence unscientific. It fails to explicate societal alteration and it tends to warrant the position quo.

The structuralist theory is besides criticised and this can use to both theories. It offers an over socialized position of persons. The deterministic nature of structural linguistics dressed ores on external societal causes and ignores the importance of single histrions and their subjective experiences. A unfavorable judgment of the Marxist theory is that it tends to put excessively much accent on the economic system. Consensus theoreticians besides maintain that struggle is unnatural and unwanted.

It can be concluded that although functionalism and Marxism do portion some similarities these are outweighed by their differences. Each theory offers penetrations. which illuminate some “problems” to a grade. and although both are legitimate theories neither has proven to be more acceptable than the other.

Bibliography

Sociology subjects and positions Haralambos and Holborn )

Introduction to sociology 4th edition ( Mike O’Donnell )

An debut to sociology. 2nd edition Ken Browne

Sociology Alive. 2nd edition Stephen Moore

Sociology Third Edition Ian Robertson