How societies operate-structural-functionalism or conflict theory

How societies operate—structural-functionalism or conflict theory
A theory explores the occurrence of a phenomenon at different levels. An American sociologist Robert Putnam created a theory based on sociological factors that determined the deterioration of civic activities in the United States (Kiraly et al., 19). His findings revealed that Americans’ participation in civic engagements has reduced over the past two years. He further evaluated specific factors that promoted the decline in numbers such as television consumption. He then established the relationship between these two factors.

The significance of sociology is in the way it keeps us updated on current situations. For example, it’s a contribution to promoting good citizenship and solving societal problems. It further contributes to the knowledge of a population as well as point out better governance within a community. Often, sociologists’ utilize theoretical perspective during research and results analysis to create questions. Present-day sociologists use three main theoretical perspectives. They include the functionalists’ perspective, symbolic interactionist, and the conflict perspective (Olsson et al. 14). All these three categories provide paradigms for looking into how society is influenced by people and other factors. Events, patterns and interactions are also developed theoretically. Therefore, a theory is a proposed compilation of such interactions. Even though theories have varied scales, structural functionalism and conflict theory are efficient in explaining how society performs its tasks at a micro-level.
Structural functionalism, also termed as simple functionalism is an explanation that views society as an integrated system in which different factors are compiled to encourage solidarity and stability. This theory views society as a whole component whereas other sub-components are important to make the society function. Culture is a necessary element for this theory (Taylor, 9). A culture must exist with set guidelines so that there are norms for people to follow during decision making. Structural functionalism also incorporates value in a culture. An example in the United States is how education has very high value.
Alternatively, conflict theory identifies social structures as unequal factors as they are based on power dynamics such as age, gender or race. Due to limited resources in a society, it claims that an endless state of conflict is prevalent. It claims that individuals with power and wealth are highly benefitting compared to the poor and powerless (Kiraly et al., 19). In my personal conclusion, our society utilizes the principles of conflict theory as opposed to structural functionalism. Despite functionalism fitting into today’s society, by regarding the idea that different parts combine to create and support a society together, the theory of functionalism as a culture does not match the current situation. It is also outdated to say that cultural norms exist to identify a society and that decision making is guided by values.  An example is how the United States has mixed cultures and beliefs but they don’t adhere to similar values. Instead, America is divided based on social factors such as race, gender, age and class. The wage gap is another perfect example.
In America, the culture is male-dominated and women are looked down upon. Older people struggle to work for their healthcare and independence as new generation of lawmakers and politicians neglect their rights (Olsson et al. 14). Homosexuals and racism remain the biggest problems among them today. Despite having a black African American president for two terms, racism remained rampant in specific American states and daily news. Many activist groups are trying hard to restore much-needed equality. The wealthy and affluent always seem to have more power than to the poor. Nonetheless, the conflict theory accurately defines the operations in today’s, society compared with structural functionalism. Equality and diversity are the driving forces in present-day cultural society.

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