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Evaluate the Impact the Sociological Theories, Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism Has - Essay Example

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Evaluate the Impact the Sociological Theories, Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism Has

This paper is an attempt to explore the application of sociological theories of functionalism, conflict, and interactionism on educational institutions. The paper will briefly introduce each theory, after which it would explore its application, similarities, and differences, impact of each theory on the view of individual, society, and social change. Discussion Functionalism The functionalist perspective believes in seeing the society as “functional” whole. Functionalists assume that society consists of many mutually supportive groups, which form a network in orderly manner based on agreed and predefined set of rules and regulations. Furthermore, the society has an inbuilt tendency to move towards equilibrium, which means that it tends to remain in a balanced, harmonious and stable state for as long as possible. Nevertheless, social changes do occur from time to time, which disrupt this equilibrium but the society then engages in a procedure to achieve a new equilibrium (Mulkay, 1971). Talcott Parsons, Kingsley Davis, Robert Merton, and Emile Durkheim, who are the prominent thinkers and proponents of the functionalist school of thought, believe that each group of social institutions exists in the first place because it fulfills some certain functions (Sadovnik, 2010). Individual behavior patterns emerge because they are functionally useful. On the American frontier, there were fewer inns and not many people that the money to afford those inns. Therefore, a hospitality pattern emerged and it became the tradition of people to welcome the guests and provide them with food and shelter. The visitors would break the monotony, bring in news, and at times, help the hosts with their tasks (Mulkay, 1971). However, as the frontier settled, this pattern started to become extinct since it was no longer necessary. People had the money and more and more inns came on to the scene. This is why some critics argue that functionalists view individuals as puppets controlled by the social mechanisms and desire to maintain the “functionality” (Andersen & Taylor, 2007). More importantly, functionalists, while dealing with institutions are more likely to ask questions such as “How would this institution help in meeting the needs and wants of the society?” “To what an extent is the institutions, its theory and practices, are in line with the societal norms, values and traditions?” “Would a proposed change in the social institutions be useful in fulfilling the predetermined functions of other institutions in the society?” (Ferrante & Caldeira, 2010) Functionalists see educational institutions as an important part of the entire society to ensure that the society keeps functioning and remains operative. These institutions, especially in form of schools, keep the children from their parents for a part of the day so that they could engage in other activities (Browne, 2011). Furthermore, these institutions also provide employment to many people thus ensuring the equilibrium in the society. More importantly, educational institutions serve the purpose of engraving the societal norms and values on the hearts and minds of the children by regulating their behavior at school to the point where the children internalize them. Educational institutions also perform an important function of training people to join the labour market and ranking them in the ...Show more
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Running Head: Impact of Sociological Theories Impact of Sociological Theories Impact of Sociological Theories Introduction It was in 1838, when Auguste Comte in his book Positive Philosophy, coined the term of “sociology” thus making it the youngest branch or field amongst all other recognized social sciences…
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Evaluate the Impact the Sociological Theories, Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism Has
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