1 Marxism (is a structural
and positivist macro theory)
- Karl Marx 1818-83
1.1 Society is in a state of conflict between the Bourgeoisie(rich) and the Proletariat(poor) in which the Proletariat are
exploited by the economic system Capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system where a small minority own the forces and
production, and it is catagorised into two interdependent parts: the Infrastructure and Superstructure. The Infrastructure is
the economic system; the way society produces goods and the Superstructure is made up of social institutions such as
the family, education system and mass media.
1.1.1 In order for this capitalist system to be overthrown, Marx proposed that there should be a revolution to
overthrow the Bourgeoisie so that a communist society can be formed (wherby everyone owns the
means of production). Although this idea seems plausible, Marx never explained how this revolution was
to come about which has caused much debate amongst critics.
22.214.171.124 Criticisms of traditional Marxism: -it is seen as too simplistic. -Others argue there are more
than just two classes and that the working class can be divided into skilled/unskilled. -Class
polarisation has not occured, the new middle class has grown and the old industrial working
class has shrunk (apart from China and India). -Economic determinism: many disagree that
the economy controls all other aspects of society, action theorist emphasise the importance
of individuals to bring about change via ideas. -Revolution: only in few countries such as
Russia has revolution occured. -Focuses on class and ignores other marginalised groups such
1.1.2 The relations of production between the boss and worker are exploitative,
and cause alienation and isolation due to the fact that the Bourgeoisie aim to
extract maximum labour at a minimum cost. By doing this, the Proletariat
need to work as much possible in order to survive and therefore, because
they work so many hours, their life only seems to revolve around working.
126.96.36.199 Evaluation/Strengths: -Capitalism has improved the standard of living on the working class
who may be aware of inequality and exploitation, but feel that their standing of
living compensates for this as they have been benefited in terms of economic,
education, welfare and health care. -Capitalism has grown stronger and
influenced many through globalisation. -It acknowledges that society as a whole
is not necessarily equal and recognises the power interests of different groups.
1.1.3 Neo-Marxist Gramsci: humanistic Marxism (more
Interpretivist thinking). Gramsci introduces the concept
of hegemony to explain how the ruling class maintains
its position. He sees the ruling class maintaining its
dominance over society in two ways: Coercion (force,
e.g. police, army, prisons) and Consent (hegemony;
ideas and values of the ruling class which are
unconsciously internalised into the working class and
are used to legitimate Captitalism). The working class
can overthrow Capitalism by organising behind
intellectuals to lead the masses in radical change.
188.8.131.52 Neo-Marxist Althusser: structuralist Marxism (more
positivist thinking). Althusser is critical of humanisitic
Marxism, disagrees with the base/superstructure model
and is in favour of a more complex one which Craib calls
structural determinism. It involves three structures:
economic(activities involving producing something in order to
satisfy a need), political(comprising all forms of
organisation) and ideoloigcal level(the ways that people see
themselves and their world). He states that the ruling class
legitimate their dominance by the ideological state
appartatus (education, media) and the repressive state
184.108.40.206.1 Criticisms: -underestimates the role of coercion.
-Workers may want to overthrow the system but scared
of consequences, e.g. losing jobs.
220.127.116.11 Criticisms:: -too much emphasis is placed on structure rather
than action. -Individuals are seen to be powerless puppets.
-It is seen as abstract with little empirical evidence.
-Humanist Marxists see it as discouraging human political
action against the unfair system.
2 Functionalism (is a
structural and macro
2.1 It focuses on society as a whole and says that
behaviour is shaped by social control; we are kept
in line by mechanisms of social control. Consensus
enables us to cooperate with each other which
provides unity and harmony. Without consensus and a
collective conscience, society would become chaotic.
2.2 Evaluation/Strengths- society is not always a
smooth running and well integrated system, but it
seeks the answer of how social order is
possible, even if it is too deterministic and
2.2.1 Criticisms of functionalism -it's unscientific as they see deviance both functional and
dysfunctional for society. -marxists argue society is based on exploitation and divided into
classes, stability is simply the result of the dominant class being able to prevent change by
using coercion. -marxists see functionalism as a conservative ideology legitimating the
status quo with universal funtionalism and indispensability to help justify the existing social
order as inevitable and desirable. -wrong (1961)'over socialised and deterministic' view of the
individual, socialisation is used to shape people's behaviour so they will meet the systems'
needs by performing their prescribed roles. -functionalism reifies society, it treats it as a
distant 'thing' over and above individuals. -post-modernists state that funtionalism assumes
that society is stable and orderly, but this is not always the case due to the diverse and
modern era it's entering that involves instability/fragmentation.
2.2.2 Comte - uses the
human body as an
example as to how
society works, the
institutions in society
(education, law, family)
work together much like
the organs in the
human body in order to
18.104.22.168 Parsons (1951) in order for society to function,
there are 3 main functions: producing food, taking
care of the young and socialising new
22.214.171.124.1 Merton (1968) criticises Parsons... 1) functional unity - parsons assumes all
parts of society are integrated into a whole, however complex societies have
many parts, some of which may only be 'distantly' related to another, some
parts may have 'functional automany' from others (rules of netball, structure
of banking). 2) parsons assumes everything in society is functionally
indispensable e.g. primary socialisation is best performed by the nuclear
family - but this is not always the case. 3) parsons assumes that everything
performs a positive function for society as a whole, yet some things are
functional for some groups, but dysfunctional for others.
3 Feminism (is a conflict theory)
3.1 Sees society as male dominated and it aims to describe, explain and change the position
of women in society. A 'first wave' of feminism appeared in the late 19th century with the
suffragettes' campaign for women's rights. 1960's saw a 'second wave' emerge on a global
scale. There are 3 major events: successful civil rights in America, contraceptive pill 1961 and
the work place.
3.1.1 How women are still unequal now: harassment, politics (women only account for a third of
journalists that cover political and business coverage), illegal sex trade in the transport of
women, unemployment: 2009-12 there was a 20% rise in women, but only 0.32% among men.
126.96.36.199 Branches of feminism: liberal - believe society is unequal in terms
of gender equality, but believe it is gradually getting better due to
reforms such as the divorce reform act 1969/abortion act 1967.
188.8.131.52.1 Radical: patriarchy is the most fundamental form of
inequality, they propose the complete eradication of
patriarchy to free women from oppression.
184.108.40.206.1.1 Difference feminism: emerged as a result of
concerns that early feminists ignored the
different experiences of patriarchal subordination
found among black women and others from
minority ethnic groups. There are substantial
differences in the experiences of women from
different social and ethnic backgrounds.
220.127.116.11.1.1.1 Post structuralist: a postmodern view of
feminism, not treating all women as if they have
the same experience as a 'woman'.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Dual systems: the blend of theories (marx-fem)
- patriarchy and capitalism are seen as two
separate systems, it focuses on two theories
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 Weaknesses: they do not explain the fact that
patriarchy has existed in all known societies,
radicals argue that it is men, not just capitalism
that benefits from women's subordination and
enjoy positions of power, high status and pay... it
is men who are instruments of oppression.
184.108.40.206.1.2 Weaknesses: assumes all women share
the same common interests, fails to
recognise gradual reformations, does not
offer solutions to abolish patriarchy,
sees men as the 'enemy', marx-fems
argue it is more capitalism that causes
oppression and subordination.
220.127.116.11.2 Strengths: evidence has demonstrated
that gender is a social construct through
discrimination generated by the
socialisation process. -passed laws has
created more equality.
the effects of
18.104.22.168.2.2 Feminist methodologies: the way data is collected is patriarchal
- sociology is 'malestream' and reinscribes inequality.
22.214.171.124.2.2.1 Pam Abbot: sociology is concerned with research/theories produced by men, research
on men is generalised to the whole, issues that are important to women are overlooked,
women are represented in a sexist way in research, sex/gender is rarely seen as
separate variables - concludes that sociology is sex blind/sexist.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Soft feminist methodology: Jayaratne
(liberal): view quantitative positivist
methodology as salvageable, argues that
large scale survey type research tends to
be patriarchal - thus research should be
taken and made as gender neutral as
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Hard feminist methodology: Oakley
(radical): rejects the use of
quantitative/positivist research, more for
micro/interpretivist approaches and
advocates a more collaborative approach,
conducting more qualitative approaches
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Began as a legitimate theory in the late 1970s, it is a sudden and
fundamental break with modernity and requires a new kind of
theory to explain it. Features include fragmentation of social life,
incessant choice, uncertainty, truth is relative, globalisation etc.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 Knowledge - no objective criteria to prove
whether something is true, Enlightenment - we
have lost the power to change the enlightenment
to improve society (power to discover true
knowledge and progress to a better society),
Culture - media produce an endless stream of
images making culture unstable and fragmented;
identity becomes destabilised and we can change
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1.1 Criticisms: ignores r/c's use of media as ISA, it is wrong to distinguish
between reality and media, critics argue thatw e can use knowledge to
solve human problems, Baudrillard says we are constantly surrounded
by an ecstasy of communication and we are consumers whose desires
are created by the media, PM is self defeating.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1.2 Foucault: science as a route to enlightenment is dead and
meta-narrative theories are no longer useful.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.2.1 Lyotard: meta-narratives are simplistic, knowledge is no longer
a tool of the authorities, we have choice and freedom.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Reality TV: illustrates the interchange between
consumer and the media, as well as Disneyl
which is an example of simulacra (simulated
reality) - it is artificial, yet real and the fine line
between reality and fantasy is 'greyer'.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1.3 Further thoughts: science no longer has the
answers, progress is a questionable expertise,
postmodern society feeds upon itself recreating
the past, entwining it with the present, each
cultural identity can co-exist, cultural cohesion
comes from sharing the same media,
meta-narratives are simply bigger stories.
4.1 Social action theory (integrated approaches) - Max Weber saw both structural
and action as necessary for understanding human behaviour, arguing that an
adequate explanation involves two levels: the level of cause (objective
structural factors that shape behaviour) and the level of meaning (the
subjective meanings that individuals attach to their actions).
4.1.1 He explained the types of action based on the meaning for the actor: 1)
instrumentally rational action (actor calculates the most efficient means
of achieving a given goal, 2) value-rational action (towards a goal that the
actor regards as desirable for its own sake), 3) traditional action (is
customary, routine), 4) affectual action (expresses emotion).
188.8.131.52 Structuration theory:
Giddens 1986 - talks about
the duality of structure/agency
e.g. a language needs a
set of roles and we need
to interpret those rules.
184.108.40.206.1 We reproduce structure through agency, structure has two elements: rules
and resources which can be reproduced or changed through human action. 1)
Society's rules provide a 'back drop' - rules and resources and they are
interlinked and so our routine behaviour reproduces current structure. 2) We
need ontological security - we like to live in a predictable society that is
secure and stable.
220.127.116.11.1.1 We do not like to instigate change,
however when we do make changes we
reflexively monitor (think back on our
own behaviours), then amend them to
better fit with our changing needs, we
deliberately choose new actions as we
have transformative capacity (ability to
18.104.22.168.1.1.1 Unintended consequences of actions produce changes that were
not part of our goal, for example an increase in divorce rates has
not only created more single people, but an increase in welfare
benefits, higher taxes and less legal aid.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Evaluation: Archer states that Giddens
underestimates the capacity of structure
to resist change, Craib states that the
theory lacks originality as much of the
ideas have developed from Marx's writings,
structuralists suggest that it overstates
the capacity for individuals to change
structure and agency - suggesting that
both integrated approaches agree.
4.2 Symbolic Interactionalism
4.2.1 focuses on how we create the social world through our
interactions, placing our own meanings to a situation in
accordance to what is happening - human behaviour is the
result of consciousness.
188.8.131.52 George Mead: 1) symbols versus instincts - unlike animals whose behaviour is governed by instincts, we respond to the
world by giving meanings to the things that are significant to us, we create a world of meanings by attracting symbols to
things = an interpretive phase between a stimulus and our response where we interpret its meaning. 2) taking the role
of the other - we interpret people's meanings by taking their role e.g. children internalise significant others (parents), while
later in life we see ourselves from the generalised other (society).
184.108.40.206.1 Blumer: indentifies 3 principles of interactionalism: 1) our actions are based on the
meanings we give to them 2) these meanings arise from interactions and to some extent
are changeable 3) the meanings we give to situations are mainly the result of taking the
role of the other. There is room for choice in how we perform our roles.
220.127.116.11.1.1 Labelling theory: use 3 interactionalist concepts: 1) definition of situation, Thomas states that if people define a situation as real, it will have real consequences 2)
Cooley argues our self-concept arises out of our ability to take the role of the other (looking-glass self) - we see our self mirrored in how they respond to us and
become what they see us as 3) Becker and Lemert apply this concept e.g. someone is labelled as 'mental' and therefore this becomes their 'master status'.
18.104.22.168.1.1.1 SFP: labelling> master status>
internalisation of labels> deviant
22.214.171.124.1.2 Goffman's dramaturgical model describes how we actively
construct our 'self' by manipulating other people's
impression of us: 1) presentation of self and impression
management, this includes voice, gestures, props, settings,
dress, make-up etc - 2) roles - are loosely scripted by
society and alllow us freedom in how we play them, as we
do not always believe in the roles we play - from this we
act out our roles in which society expects of us.
126.96.36.199.2.1 explains the social construction of
phenomena and the results of the
subjective way of discourse on people's
attitudes and behaviour, it describes things
as they appear to our senses.
188.8.131.52.2.1.1 Schutz: we share categories and concepts with other members of society
which are called typifications - they enable us to organise our experiences into
a shared world of meanings, and the meanings come from its social context
meaning they can be unclear and unstable. They make order possible by
stabiling meanings and making sure we have commonsense knowledge that we
can share, he calls this 'recipe knowledge' as we can follow it without thinking too
hard. This allows us to cooperate and achieve goals.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Evaluation: Berger and Luckmann argue that
although life is socially constructed, once
constructed, it has a life of its own and becomes
an external natural attitude that has an effect on
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1.1 Examines how people speak and interact
with each other through conversations and
in relationships within their homes.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.1.1 Garfinkel argues social order is created
from the 'bottom-up' and used breaching
experiments to disrupt people's
experiences of a situation - he sought
to expose people's 'taken for granted'
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Indexicality: refers to that meanings are always potentially unclear which is a threat to social order.
Reflexivity: is the use of our commonsense knowledge to construct a sense of meaning.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 It rejects the view that society has any kind of social
structure. It is an allusion and only appears to exist
becomes members of society create it in their own
minds and impose a sense of order by using
commonsense and culturally embedded rules and
assumptions. Social reality is simply a social
5 Late Modernity
5.1 Characteristics of modern society: capitalism, mass
production, scientific thinking, technology and decline
of religion. LM is a continuation of modernism.
5.1.1 YOU KNEW WHO YOU WERE:
social class, family, overt
5.2 Giddens: reflexivity, in a stage of high modernity and rapid change is having
a global effect, disembedding: we no longer need face to face interaction
(impersonal), Reflexive: traditions are less important -geographical mobility
takes us away from our roots.
5.2.1 Beck agrees with Giddens about a growth of individualism and
says we constantly need to reflect on our actions (reflexive
modernisation) - therefore, everything is centered around risk.
5.3 Evaluation of LM: not everyone is free to reflect
on their actions to reduce risks (poor due to
environmental factors, lack of resources), Rustin:
capitalism is responsible for many risks due to
profit being pursued irrespective of the
5.3.1 Marxism and LM: enlightenment/scientific knowledge has
helped to improve society, some feel we have moved into a
PM era due to fragmentation, PM is a continuation of
capitalism, Harvey: capitalism is a constant changing system,
developing new technologies in the pursuit of profit.
184.108.40.206 Evaluation of Marxism and LM: if
marxists accept society has
become fragmented, does this
not contradict the marxist belief
that w/c would unite to overthrow
the r/c and capitalist system, can
be said that neo-marxists offer
explanation for recent changes.