Structural Perspectives

Structural Perspectives

  • Submitted By: maksar
  • Date Submitted: 12/04/2008 11:03 AM
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Words: 2192
  • Page: 9
  • Views: 1

Some sociologists reject the view that society has a clear structure that directs individuals to behave in certain ways. Explain this in contrast to structural perspectives.

Is it society that shapes the individual, or is it the individual that shapes society? Sociologists have studied in depth their theories to see if society has a clear structure that monopolize individuals to behave in certain ways. In general, social structure refers to social institutions and norms becoming embedded into social systems in such a way that they shape the behavior of actors within those social systems.

Sociologists talk about theories but many of them see them from different perspectives. Structural perspective like Functionalism and Marxism; examine the way in which society act as a whole. Structural perspectives tend to see human activity as a product of the social structure. Functionalists like Emile-Durkheim and more recently Talcott Parsons argues how society is at a value consensus meaning based upon shared goals. Functionalists tend to see society from a positive side, (sometimes it gets a bit exaggerated) in terms of how society helps/shapes the individual. On the other hand, Marxism argues that society is driven by conflict within the Industrial society therefore between the working class (proletariat) and the higher class (bourgeoisie). Thus, despite their differences, both Functionalism and Marxism use a model of how society as a whole works. Many Functionalists base their model of society around the assumption of Functional prerequisites or basic needs and go on to explain how different parts of society help to meet those needs. Marxists on the other hand, see society as resting upon an economic base or infrastructure, with a superstructure rising above it. Marxists see society as divided into social classes which have the potential to be in conflict with each other.

Functionalism has originally attempted to explain social institutions as collective means...

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