Identify and discuss the key features of both Functionalist and Marxist theories. [25 Marks]
Functionalist and Marxist are macro sociological theories that give a better understanding of the society. Functionalist theory is referred to as the consensus whilst the Marxist theory is known as the conflict theory. Key features of both theories are going to be identified and discussed.
According to Haralambos and Holborn (2008), a theory is a set of ideas which attempts to explain how something works.
Functionalism is one of the major theoretical perspectives in sociology which explains how social order is possible or how society remains relatively stable.
Marxism is a theoretical perspective that emphasizes the role of coercion and
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Parson states that the society needs basic functional pre requisites for its survival. The pre requisites such as integration, adaptation, goal attainment and pattern maintenance are required. Society must adapt to the environment they live for it to continue to exist. Furthermore, the society must have a degree of control over the environment. A system of socializing new members of the society may also be regarded as a functional pre requisite, since, without culture, social life would not be possible. The society also needs food, shelter, water for it to survive. Therefore the economy must find means of producing those basic needs. Moreover, the society should set goals, so in order to attain them the society should set rules that need to be followed. Also the society must adjust and follow the rules, thus being integrated into the system and besides this, the society should maintain basic pattern and values. Having assumed a number of basic requirements for the survival of the society, the next step is to look at the parts of the social structure to see how they meet such functional pre requisites. (Fulcher and Scott, 2007)
Another key feature of the functionalist theory is that conflict is temporary. It is caused by scarcity of resources. When there is conflict within the society, it needs an urgent solution.
Lastly social order is one of the key features of the functionalist theory. One of the main concern of