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Functionalist perspective

Someone taking a functional perspective will most likely view work and the economy as a well-oiled machine that is designed for maximum efficiency. The Davis-Moore thesis, for example, suggests that some social stratification is a social necessity. The need for certain highly skilled positions combined with the relative difficulty of the occupation and the length of time it takes to qualify will result in a higher reward for that job and will provide a financial motivation to engage in more education and a more difficult profession (Davis and Moore 1945). This theory can be used to explain the prestige and salaries that go with careers only available to those with doctorates or medical degrees.

The functionalist perspective would assume that the continued health of the economy is vital to the health of the nation, as it ensures the distribution of goods and services. For example, we need food to travel from farms (high-functioning and efficient agricultural systems) via roads (safe and effective trucking and rail routes) to urban centers (high-density areas where workers can gather). However, sometimes a dysfunction––a function with the potential to disrupt social institutions or organization (Merton 1968)––in the economy occurs, usually because some institutions fail to adapt quickly enough to changing social conditions. This lesson has been driven home recently with the bursting of the housing bubble. Due to risky lending practices and an underregulated financial market, we are recovering from the after-effects of the Great Recession, which Merton would likely describe as a major dysfunction.

Some of this is cyclical. Markets produce goods as they are supposed to, but eventually the market is saturated and the supply of goods exceeds the demands. Typically the market goes through phases of surplus, or excess, inflation, where the money in your pocket today buys less than it did yesterday, and recession    , which occurs when there are two or more consecutive quarters of economic decline. The functionalist would say to let market forces fluctuate in a cycle through these stages. In reality, to control the risk of an economic depression    (a sustained recession across several economic sectors), the U.S. government will often adjust interest rates to encourage more lending—and consequently more spending. In short, letting the natural cycle fluctuate is not a gamble most governments are willing to take.

Conflict perspective

For a conflict perspective theorist, the economy is not a source of stability for society. Instead, the economy reflects and reproduces economic inequality, particularly in a capitalist marketplace. The conflict perspective is classically Marxist, with the bourgeoisie (ruling class) accumulating wealth and power by exploiting and perhaps oppressing the proletariat (workers), and regulating those who cannot work (the aged, the infirm) into the great mass of unemployed (Marx and Engels 1848). From the symbolic (though probably made up) statement of Marie Antoinette, who purportedly said, “Let them eat cake” when told that the peasants were starving, to the Occupy Wall Street movement that began during the Great Recession, the sense of inequity is almost unchanged. Conflict theorists believe wealth is concentrated in the hands of those who do not deserve it. As of 2010, 20 percent of Americans owned 90 percent of U.S. wealth (Domhoff 2014). While the inequality might not be as extreme as in pre-revolutionary France, it is enough to make many believe that the United States is not the meritocracy it seems to be.

Questions & Answers

importance of sociology as a course to my discipline
favour Reply
can someone explain social system theory
Evalyne Reply
the study society as a complex ,arrangement of element individual and their beliefs
ghaza
how climate change human behavior
Hope Reply
climate change human behaviour... it have the power to change human emotions.
MINU
lack of agriculture can cause financial problems
MINU
disscus the roles challenges of sociology as social engineer with concrete examples
honour Reply
honour Austin met me in school, i got a material for your question or I can tell you what to do to get your assignment done....(uniuyo)
Icecool
define crime and explain its categories
Abdullahi Reply
definition of crime and explain its categories
Nathax
Criminology is the study of the law enforcement and criminal justice. Criminology covers these area: Frequency of crime Location of crimes Causes of crimes Types of crimes Social and individual consequences of crimes Social reactions to crimes Individual reactions to crimes Governmental reactions
Amman
what are roles and challenges of sociology as social engineers
Icecool Reply
Fo any of you have any idea about Ibn ek khuldun theory of Population . kindly share
Maria Reply
No idea
Dede
Maria ibn ek khuldun supposed to be the first founder of sociology but due to the country he is that's why is not recognized as well... he was born 1332 and died 1406, is an Egyptians... he defined sociology as the science of nature and discipline
IBRAHIM
what re the importance of sociology as a course to my discipline
favour
Auguste Comte The French philosopher Auguste Comte (1798–1857)—often called the “father of sociology”—first used the term “sociology” in 1838 to refer to the scientific study of society. He believed that all societies develop and progress through the following stages: religious, metaphysical
Abdikadir
what are the impact of HIV and aids in the society plz help
Mvumeni
the father of sociology
Chiamaka Reply
The father of Sociology is called "August Comte " but the term "Sociology is coined by Ibn e khuldun " and he is the founder of social sciences .
Maria
but sociology word first introduced by August comte
Izhar
Discuss some scholars contribution on sociology as a science
Nafisat Reply
cultural lag culture and civilization
Sundeep Reply
define culture by Edward ty
Victoria Reply
what is the basic theory
Umar Reply
basic theory of what
Victoria
Discuss* *the important of* *sociology in a developing* *country like Nigeria*
Owolo
I think he say basic theory of sociology
Arxoo
what study of sociology is important...?
Maira
the studies of human behavior as it relates to society is one major definition of sociology.
Alfred Reply
Sociology definition. "The scientific study of group behavior and social organization.
Arxoo
what is adopted culture?
Muhammad
it's a culture copied from other countries.
Davison
meaning of international understanding
Ason Reply
Is sociology a science discipline
Odimgbe Reply
yes
Maira
sociology is a scientific study of human society and interaction. ... Sociology as a scientific discipline However, when conducting social sciences research there are some systematic steps which are needed to be followed. There must be a careful selection of topic to be studied.
Maira
Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. 
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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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