Two Major Theoretical Perspectives In Sociology Essay

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Introduction Great thinkers, including Plato and Aristotle opened the doors to studying society; they based their thoughts on creating an “ideal society”. The science of Sociology was later developed in the early 19th century by Auguste Comte, who coined the word “Sociology”. He began to study society, using “critical thinking”. Comte believed that only by really understanding society could we begin to change it. In this Essay I will compare and contrast two major theoretical perspectives in Sociology. The Functionalist theory of Emile Durkheim and the Marxist theory of Karl Marx (Giddens, 2009, p. 72) Sociology is the scientific study of social life. It describes and analyses social behaviour. It seeks to discover how human society has come…show more content…
They agree that religion has the power to introduce and change social Norms. Norms refer to common and agreed ways of behavior in various social activities. (McDonald, 2006, p. 14) The difference of opinion on whether this was a positive or negative can be read in the quotes below: “If Religion has given birth to all that is essential in society, it is because the idea of society is the soul of religion” Emile Durkheim “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” Karl Marx As both sociology perspectives also differ greatly and often contradict each other I will use the following questions (Used by O’Donnell) to explain the many differences between Functionalism and Marxism. (McDonald, 2006, p. 19) How is society constructed? Durkheim believed that society was made up of different institutions which worked harmoniously with each other to produce constancy and unity. Each institution has a different purpose which carries out a certain role in society. Each Institution also works closely with another and creates a functioning society. These institutions can be categorized into four groups. i.
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