Functionalism Vs Conflict Theory Essays

The Comparison Of Functionalism And Conflict Theory

Functionalism and conflict theory are two theories that influence the purposes of schooling. These two theories are both different and similar in their view and relation to schooling. Basically, the differences lie in the way these two theories explain transmission, as well as way functionalists are more accepting and conflict theorists want to change things. The two theories are similar in their views of structure and culture.

"Functionalism...argues that society operates as does the human body: Like living organisms, all societies possess basic functions which they must carry out to survive. Like living organisms, they evolve structures to carry out the functions" (Bennett deMarais and LeCompte, p. 5). Functionalism is a theory that certainly concentrates more on the social aspects and cultural aspects more than any other areas within the schooling systems. Based upon these two aspects, functionalists will try to recognize the social system. From there, functionalists explain how the school systems operate, while at the same time keeping order and equilibrium preserved.

Functionalists focus on intellectual, political, economical, and social purposes as what they perceive as the purposes of schooling. The intellectual purposes of schooling according to functionalists are learning and applying cognitive, substantive, and inquiry skills throughout their childhoods and on into their adulthoods. The functionalist view also states that the political purposes of schooling include educating children to become adults in this world that participate in politics, promote sharing history, encourage immigration, and are people who make sure order and obeying laws come into play. Economically, functionalists feel that schooling prepares children for their careers in life and also to choose and instruct the labor force. Lastly, functionalists believe that the social purposes of schools are to encourage social and moral responsibility, become places for people to solve social problems, and to become another place to go for help besides church and family.

Functionalists view the world as though everyone has a part in the system and everyone has to do their part in order for it all to work. The way they believe is each generation passes down the ways of behavior and those ways are accepted as the normal ways of life. The functionalist is more accepting of the way things are in society and portray that to be the normal way of life.

While learning these "normal ways of life," children are educated within the school systems. Although functionalists are very accepting of the things around them, functionalists see schools as the stepping stone for children to grow into their adulthood. Without schools, children would not know how to become adults in this manner,...

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...Functionalism is the original and still dominant discipline of thought in the social sciences. As a construct of two forms of scientific investigation: the scientific approach and viewing the individual as a part of a social organism or social whole, the scientific method considers society as an objectively observable and "real" entity that is suitable for methods and philosophies that guide examination and study of the physical world. The 17th century philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, believed that humans are driven by passion, which if left unrestrained would result in social chaos. The problem, therefore, is to explain why this does not routinely occur. For functionalists, it is society, as its own entity that regulates human behavior. Emile Durkheim, the originator of this school of thought described society as a "conscious being... with it's own special nature, distinct from that of it's members". The consequence of this assumption that society is a 'social fact' that regulates human activity is that functionalists stress how human behavior is positively determined by social structure. Functionalism holds that everyone and everything in society, no matter how strange it may seem, serves a purpose. Crime, for example, is viewed almost universally as a nuisance. Functionalists, however, point out that crime serves several purposes. Crime creates the need for the employment of police officers, criminal investigators, prosecutors, defense...

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