Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fuctionalists vs. Conflict Theorists

From what I understood, one of the primary differences between Functionalists and Conflict Theorists is the role of authority (power) in the lives of the members of society. Where Durkheim and Parsons believe that the collective is that one that makes the norms, values, and beliefs, Dahrendorf says that it is actually the ones in power that set the norms, values, and beliefs, and then they are also the ones that enforce them. Which side you do agree with?

Try looking at some current issues/events.
Women, on average, make less than men. Who allowed this to happen? The collective or the powers that be?
Gays are not legally allowed to marry. Why? Is it the collective that is against it, or is it the people that help to pass laws?
Some states have laws that govern sexual acts that happen in the privacy of your own home. Regardless of whether you are married or not. Do you believe that these laws were set up by the general population? Or was it the people that hold power in our nation?
Some states have made it illegal for you to spank your child as a form of punishment. Was this something that was set up by the parents who have these kids? Or was it set up and is enforced by the authorities that oversee our government?

So after thinking about these issues (and I'm sure you can think of a million more) which side of the spectrum do you think that you agree with more? The side of the Functionalists or the side of the Conflict Theorists?

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