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Explain the
principle sociological perspectives.


In this essay,
I am going to explain 7 different psychological perspectives; functionalism, Marxism,
feminism, interactionism, collectivism, postmodernism and The New Right.

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Functionalism is a consensus theory which means
it assumes that for society to work effectively all individuals within it must
function and behave properly. Functionalist’s believe that society is based
upon harmony, integration and social solidarity.


Peter Murdock was a functionalist that studied 250 societies and noted that a
family existed in all of them, he believed that the family was a universal
institution that performed four functions, sexual, reproductive, economic and


believe that as a child you gain primary socialisation from your parents e.g.
you are taught as an individual regarding your own skills, abilities and habits
that your parents have observed and then when you go into education you gain
secondary socialisation from what is taught (universalistic values) that are
given to everyone else. Functionalist’s emphasise the positive aspects of


Emile Durkheim
(functionalist) noted the importance in preventing anomie – a state of chaos
caused by society lacking a shared set or norms and values and argued that
whilst the family is based on affective relationships (people help each other
out of love and affection) society is based on instrumental relationships
(based on mutual self interest).


Stability in
a functionalist society is based on socialisation into norms and values on
which people can agree. These shared norms and values are known as value


Marxism is a conflict theory in which
society is determined by an economic system – the means of production. Society is
polarised between two key classes – the ruling class (the bourgeoisie) and the
working class (the proletariat) and the ruling class exploit and oppress the
working classes to maintain the capitalist system which serves the interests of
the ruling class factory owners.


Marxists argue
that the main function of the nuclear family is to distract the working class
from the fact that they are exploited in two different ways. Firstly, the
hierarchal way in which nuclear families are organised (the male being the head
of the household) discourages workers from questioning the hierarchal nature of
capitalism and the inequalities in wealth and power that result from it. And secondly,
parents are encouraged to buy into the consumer society which creates many
false needs.


Marxists also
believe school is an ideological tool which manipulates individuals to think
certain ways which leaves them vulnerable to exploitation by the ruling class. Neo
Marxist Louis Althusser believes education is an ideological apparatus which
controls people by brainwashing could be argued that the hidden curriculum
supports this idea as it transmits values such as obedience and respect for
authority whilst free thought is met with punishment.


There are
three main types of feminism that I am going to explain in this assignment. Firstly,
liberal feminism; liberal feminism is an individualistic form of feminism which
focuses on women’s ability to maintain their equality through their own actions
and choices.


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