Download Functionalism

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Social comparison theory wikipedia , lookup

Sociology of the family wikipedia , lookup

Social contract wikipedia , lookup

Postdevelopment theory wikipedia , lookup

Symbolic interactionism wikipedia , lookup

Network society wikipedia , lookup

Sociology of knowledge wikipedia , lookup

Sociology of culture wikipedia , lookup

In-group favoritism wikipedia , lookup

Sociology of gender wikipedia , lookup

Social exclusion wikipedia , lookup

Identity (social science) wikipedia , lookup

Sociology of terrorism wikipedia , lookup

Differentiation (sociology) wikipedia , lookup

Sociological theory wikipedia , lookup

Labeling theory wikipedia , lookup

Social development theory wikipedia , lookup

Social norm wikipedia , lookup

Social group wikipedia , lookup

Structural functionalism wikipedia , lookup

Group dynamics wikipedia , lookup

Theoretical Perspectives on the Role of Socialisation
Structural Theories
Structuralists see culture and individual identities created by society. Individuals are
socialised by social institutions and social forces which form and limit the identities that are
adopted. Individuals have little choice over their identity formation.
Functionalists like Durkheim and Parsons see learning culture through socialisation as
positive. The socialisation process acts as a social glue with shared norms and values (value
consensus) bonding people together (social solidarity) by providing them with agreed
guidelines about how they should behave and what others might expect of them.
Functionalists see socialisation as beneficial for all of society. The role of socialisation is to
integrate individuals into society as a whole. Socialisation enables individuals to cooperate
and live in relative harmony in stable societies.
It is important that members of a society see themselves not just as individuals but also as
part of a wider group. This is what Durkheim refers to as social solidarity where an individual
feels a sense of belonging to society.
According to Functionalists, socialisation is mainly concerned with transmitting the norms and
values of society.
Socialisation ensures that most people internalise society’s values and then operate according
to them when performing their roles within society. The expectations associated with different
roles reflect the values of society. For example, the norms expected in the role of an
employee, such as being hard work, reflect the value society places on hard work.
Society remains stable because, for a great deal of the time, individuals behave as if
programmed to perform to the requirements of particular roles. They do not deviate from
these expectations most of the time.
Parsons sees family almost as a ‘personality factor’, moulding and shaping human identity
according to one common cultural pattern. Socialisation involves people adjusting their
personality as they are exposed to different social relations, e.g. later with people outside of
the family.
Parsons sees people as the sum of the values, beliefs and expectations of the social system
(society). This is a very structural point of view which sees society as moulding human
Religion is also a key agent of socialisation that reinforces the social solidarity of a group.
Marxists see socialisation as negative. While they accept that socialisation is necessary for
people to learn culture and adopt behaviour that enables them to function in society, they
also see socialisation as a form of social control.
The culture of society is the dominant class’ culture. There is not a value consensus, instead
people are socialised into the values of the dominant class. Ruling class ideology is passed on
via socialisation
Socialisation reproduces and legitimises existing social inequalities making them seem normal
and natural and therefore preventing dissent.
Marxists see agents of socialisation, such as education, as maintaining social control.
Bowles and Gintis
Argue that schooling instils values such as punctuality, discipline and obedience within the
individual via the hidden curriculum. These are qualities that the Marxists think are needed in
a capitalist workforce, which make them hardworking but easy to exploit.
Socialisation reinforces and reproduces patriarchy. Feminists see socialisation as a way of
reinforcing gender inequality.
Heaton and Lawson
Argue the hidden curriculum is a major source of gender socialisation within schools. They
believe that schools seem to show or have:
textbooks where children are taught from an early age that males are dominant within
the family
various subjects aimed at a certain gender group (girls are directed towards subjects
related to traditional roles, such as caring)
sports that are segregated by gender
majority of teachers are female but head teachers are mainly male (although this is not
the case in some schools)
Argues that the family uses four methods to reproduce gender roles in society, which
maintains male dominance:
1) Manipulation: children are encouraged to behave in ways appropriate for their gender,
e.g. boys are encouraged not to cry.
2) Canalisation: children are directed into activities and toys that are seen as appropriate
for their gender, e.g. girls are given kitchen sets as toys.
3) Verbal appellations: parents refer to their children in ways that reinforce gender
stereotypes, e.g. boys are called ‘Mummy’s little soldier’.
4) Different activities: children take part in different activities with their parents, e.g. girls
help their Mum with cooking.
Criticisms of Structural Theories
Individuals are seen as simply puppets or what Garfinkel called cultural dopes, where they
simply accept norms and values with little input from the individual. According to the
interpretivists, individuals can make choices about norms and values.
Interpretivist/Social Action Theories
Social action theories place more emphasis on the role of individuals in creating culture and
their identities.
The Looking Glass Self
Mead argued that as children grow up they learn to develop a sense of themselves (their selfconcept) and the qualities they have that make them different from others. The development
of self occurs during socialisation through social interaction (interacting with other people). As
they interact with other people they begin to develop ideas about how others see them and
by seeing how people respond to them, they may modify their self-concept and sense of
identity and begin to see themselves as others see them. This means the self-concepts and
identities of individuals are changing and developing all the time.
Cooley developed the concept of the looking glass self to explain this. Cooley argues that our
identity is formed based on how we think other people see us. We either behave as we think
people see us or we try to change our behaviour to modify people’s views of us.
For example, an individual may see themselves as outgoing, friendly and sociable, but others
may see them as unfriendly and standoffish. This might result in the individual adopting a
new identity where they conform to how others see them or where they change their
behaviour to try and change people’s views of them.
For Mead, play is important to development of self. Through play children develop into social
beings. Taking the role of others allows children to take into account the reactions of others.
Other people (particularly family members) play an important role in enabling children to see
how their actions generate specific social reactions.
Impression Management
Goffman sees society as like a stage, with people acting out performances. People try to
project particular impressions of themselves (the presentation of self). Individuals manage
the impressions they give to other people and try to convince other people that that is their
Goffman says everyone is engaged in this process. Through adopting social roles and
responding to the reactions of others, individuals develop their identities.
Goffman also says that whilst there is a public area where we act out our performances, there
is also a private area where individuals stop performing and are themselves, such as at
While the individual may try to present a certain impression to others, there is no certainty
that they will succeed.
Becker argues that our identity is influenced by other people’s perceptions of us. This is
similar to Mead and Cooley but Becker argues that once people begin to see us as having a
particular type of identity that becomes our master status. It becomes very difficult to get rid
of this identity and eventually the individual may conform to it.
Criticisms of Interpretivist/Social Action Theories
Individuals are seen as having too much control over their identity and not enough emphasis
is given to the importance of inequality in society and the role of social institutions in
influencing people’s identities.
While individuals may be able to choose some aspects of their identity, their choices are
limited by factors such as social disapproval, wealth, employment etc.
Giddens argues that social structures limit how people may act and the identities they may
adopt, but they also make it possible for people to act and form identities in the first place.
Therefore, whilst there is a structure to society that limits individuals’ identities, individuals
can still make choices about the identities they adopt within that framework.
The Reflexive Self
This refers to the idea that an individual’s identity is formed and develops through a process
of reflecting on their identity as they interact with other individuals and the agents of
socialisation. Individuals can change their identities as they reflect on themselves.
1) Explain what Goffman means by impression management.
2) Suggest ways in which you try to manage the impressions of yourself that you give to
other people. Do you always succeed in giving the impression you want? Why?
3) With reference to Cooley’s idea of the looking glass self, explain, with examples, how
the reactions of other might encourage people to change how they view themselves.
4) What is the difference between Becker’s labelling theory and Cooley’s looking glass
5) How does the reflexive self differ from the looking glass self?
Theorists such as Baudrillard, Lyotard and Jameson argue that culture and identity are much
more important in contemporary society. They all agree that there is a loss of faith in
metanarratives. Postmodernists believe that the norms and values of our society are not
transmitted through agents of socialisation in order to benefit rich businessmen, for example.
They argue that in a society such as ours which celebrates diversity, we as consumers choose
our identity and pick up the norms and customs of our society ourselves. This is done through
personal experience. Postmodernist sociologists emphasise how the interpretation of what we
mean by ‘self’ can change, and they also emphasise the degree of choice we have.