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  • Understand how functionalists, conflict theorists, and interactionists view government and politics

Sociologists rely on organizational frameworks or paradigms to make sense of their study of sociology; already there are many widely recognized schemas for evaluating sociological data and observations. Each paradigm looks at the study of sociology through a unique lens. The sociological examination of government and power can thus be evaluated using a variety of perspectives that help the evaluator gain a broader perspective. Functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism are a few of the more widely recognized philosophical stances in practice today.

Functionalism

According to functionalism, the government has four main purposes: planning and directing society, meeting social needs, maintaining law and order, and managing international relations. According to functionalism, all aspects of society serve a purpose.

Functionalists view government and politics as a way to enforce norms and regulate conflict. Functionalists see active social change, such as the sit-in on Wall Street, as undesirable because it forces change and, as a result, undesirable things that might have to be compensated for. Functionalists seek consensus and order in society. Dysfunction creates social problems that lead to social change. For instance, functionalists would see monetary political contributions as a way of keeping people connected to the democratic process. This would be in opposition to a conflict theorist who would see this financial contribution as a way for the rich to perpetuate their own wealth.

Conflict theory

Conflict theory focuses on the social inequalities and power difference within a group, analyzing society through this lens. Philosopher and social scientist Karl Marx was a seminal force in developing the conflict theory perspective; he viewed social structure, rather than individual personality characteristics, as the cause of many social problems, such as poverty and crime. Marx believed that conflict between groups struggling to either attain wealth and power or keep the wealth and power they had was inevitable in a capitalist society, and conflict was the only way for the underprivileged to eventually gain some measure of equality.

C. Wright Mills (1956) elaborated on some of Marx’s concepts, coining the phrase power elite    to describe what he saw as the small group of powerful people who control much of a society. Mills believed the power elite use government to develop social policies that allow them to keep their wealth. Contemporary theorist G. William Domhoff (2011) elaborates on ways in which the power elite may be seen as a subculture whose members follow similar social patterns such as joining elite clubs, attending select schools, and vacationing at a handful of exclusive destinations.

Conflict theory in action

A formation of airplanes featuring fighter jets and a stealth bomber is shown in the sky.
Although military technology has evolved considerably over the course of history, the fundamental causes of conflict among nations remain essentially the same. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Questions & Answers

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Holly
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Holly
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who give the concept of negative education
Zahid Reply
Is sociology a good optional subject for upsc
sohit Reply
yes
Albert
yes sociology is a good optional .Even Anu Kumari got rank 2 in 2017 upsc exam with sociology optional.
ANU
thanks for your suggestion
sohit
actually I also want to take sociology optional for upsc
ANU
Woow
Derrick
hello i am new to this subject ... anyone plz explain difference between social and sociological problems ...
Ali
what's Feminism?
samuel Reply
the adocacy on the ground the rights for women in the basis of sexism
Atta
wat is the concept of social living
Sherie Reply
what is egoistic suicide
Ghulam
egoistic suicide is when someone commits suicide as part of not feeling like they belong in society. It is also when someone struggles to find a reason to live and people who do commit egoistic suicide have weak or very little social bonds to their society.
Holly
is it that they dont have the relation with others in the society or they dont try to fit in...or better still they are mostly rejected
Barimah
A social structure is where human beings in a society interact & live together. A social life is seen as an individual's interpersonal relationships within peoples immediate surroundings or general public.
Holly
what is sexism
Gelana Reply
I'm not sure of the exact definition. I will define it as: the sociological term that refers to inequality and bias between the two genders.
Elizabeth
well. it the study is social interaction, and society
EMMANUEL
sexism is the descrimination in the basis of a person's gender.
Albert
what are the main contributions of Emile Durkheim to sociology
Alkemi Reply
what is meant by egoistic suicide
Ghulam
jh
kamran
discuss man's ability to function in the that ensure his survival
Beatrice
what are social facts
Gideon Reply
what is social facts
Gideon
what is social facts
Gideon
social facts: a thing originating in the institutions or culture of a society which affects the behaviour or attitudes of an individual member of that society.
the
So facts are in the institutions or culture of society that affects the behaviour or attitudes of an individual in society.
Holly
what is the scope of introduction to sociology
Ambrose Reply
what is sociol class and how sociol class is achieved
Ghulam
I understand that sociologists study society looking at its pattern. Is the pattern of a society or social world a fixed one? Please help me out.
Jimmy Reply
hi guys,am Eva,its the first am doing sociology. its new to me
evadne Reply
same
Holly
West Midlands UK you
Holly
yh me too
eroll
same here
Justbe
Kingston, Jamaica
evadne
yh and me to
Elizabeth
any input on it
evadne
me too
Abshar
me too😊
the
hlooo
Ghulam
cool
Holly
no its not new for you may be for other
Gelana
what are the types of cultures in sociology
Isreal Reply
can I just have the terms of the different families
Its Reply
Thanks a lot for welcoming me on board as we all interact and learn from each other.
Jimmy
there are many different types of families from two parents & children, single parent which consists of one parent raising one or more children on her/his own. then you the extended family structure from two or more adults who are related, either by blood or marriage, living in the same home.
Holly
important of sociology in the society
Maxine Reply
what are the need of sociology for uneducated people like velliger people who living beside the cities?
Abshar Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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