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mel_l218
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Hello, I am just after some advice on my sociology assignment:
Discuss whether society is best understood in terms or conflict or consensus.

Conflict being Marxism or feminism (or both) and consensus being functionalism. I am just confused on where to begin really, I have two text books and have made notes on all 3 theories, and looked at my class notes. It's half term at the moment so I can't ask my teacher or others in my class.

It is my first assignment & I haven't studied sociology before.

Any advice appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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Jess1975
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We just did this. Did Functionalism and Merton and their criticisms and then we mentioned marxism (really detailed) and feminism. you know what the questions are?
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beautifulbigmacs
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(Original post by mel_l218)
Hello, I am just after some advice on my sociology assignment:
Discuss whether society is best understood in terms or conflict or consensus.

Conflict being Marxism or feminism (or both) and consensus being functionalism. I am just confused on where to begin really, I have two text books and have made notes on all 3 theories, and looked at my class notes. It's half term at the moment so I can't ask my teacher or others in my class.

It is my first assignment & I haven't studied sociology before.

Any advice appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
hello, sociology postgraduate here

Use the introduction to say what you will be talking about in the essay (you've done some of that here already).

Outline the definition of conflict (include Marxism and feminism examples here) and then the definition of consensus (include functionalism here). This could make up a fair bulk of the essay because it's your chance to show your understanding of the key concepts here.

Next, discuss conflict and consensus in relation to the title of the essay as to whether society is best understood in terms of conflict or consensus (there's no right or wrong here as long as you refer to other's ideas and provide a well reasoned discussion).

Conclusion.

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john2054
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(Original post by mel_l218)
Hello, I am just after some advice on my sociology assignment:
Discuss whether society is best understood in terms or conflict or consensus.

Conflict being Marxism or feminism (or both) and consensus being functionalism. I am just confused on where to begin really, I have two text books and have made notes on all 3 theories, and looked at my class notes. It's half term at the moment so I can't ask my teacher or others in my class.

It is my first assignment & I haven't studied sociology before.

Any advice appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
You might want to start by saying that the two theories aren't mutually exclusive. In a time of warfare, such as ww2, the conflicts both within and without different societies and cultures are apparent. Just look at the way concientious objectors were treated for example. And the structures of society, from benefits, to the war effort, really kicked in to effectively function society. With the Bevan health act after the war, serving to reward our society, from the fruits of war.

On the flip side a conflict theory such as Marxism, could argue that the war was in fact the chess game of the powers of the ruling class (bourgeoisie), who just saw the minions run in to the bullets and bombs of war, thus suffer, whilst their own property and position remained intact. This is without going in to the slaughter of millions of Jewish and ethnic minorities in the holocaust.

Also feminists could argue that the war was a conflict between male rulers, trying to boost their egos, only for the jobs women were given in the war, them holding on to some of them at least, after. Resulting in a new social contract being drawn up between the sexes after 1945. However, successive generations have seen continual conflicts, from Vietnam to Iraq to Syria, with each next clique of rulers, both the men and the women who work for them, loving to send their men and bombs, every few years.

To conclude you could say, like what i said in the beginning, that these contrasting theories, whilst on first sight, may appear contradictory, in the real word there is definitely a certain amount of cross over, with societies existing on different levels at the same time. So for example, marriage seems to be making something of a comeback, despite being on the wane for many years. Which in itself can be looked at again from both a functionalist and conflict standpoint. But I will let you explore this further if you want. These are two points you could explore in the essay, let me know if you need any more ideas okay?

BTW please don't copy and paste, but rewrite these points in your own words, if you are going to use them thanks! (PS and you don't have to cite me, because this is only Access!)
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mel_l218
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(Original post by beautifulbigmacs)
hello, sociology postgraduate here

Use the introduction to say what you will be talking about in the essay (you've done some of that here already).

Outline the definition of conflict (include Marxism and feminism examples here) and then the definition of consensus (include functionalism here). This could make up a fair bulk of the essay because it's your chance to show your understanding of the key concepts here.

Next, discuss conflict and consensus in relation to the title of the essay as to whether society is best understood in terms of conflict or consensus (there's no right or wrong here as long as you refer to other's ideas and provide a well reasoned discussion).

Conclusion.

Hi beautifulbigmacs, thanks for your reply, when I look at the feminist/Marxist/functionalist approach in the text books, it mentions the various approaches to education, family, work, is this the type of thing to talk about in relation to whether society is best understood in terms of conflict or consensus? I'm just confused if I'm on the right lines or not.

Thanks again.
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mel_l218
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(Original post by john2054)
You might want to start by saying that the two theories aren't mutually exclusive. In a time of warfare, such as ww2, the conflicts both within and without different societies and cultures are apparent. Just look at the way concientious objectors were treated for example. And the structures of society, from benefits, to the war effort, really kicked in to effectively function society. With the Bevan health act after the war, serving to reward our society, from the fruits of war.

On the flip side a conflict theory such as Marxism, could argue that the war was in fact the chess game of the powers of the ruling class (bourgeoisie), who just saw the minions run in to the bullets and bombs of war, thus suffer, whilst their own property and position remained intact. This is without going in to the slaughter of millions of Jewish and ethnic minorities in the holocaust.

Also feminists could argue that the war was a conflict between male rulers, trying to boost their egos, only for the jobs women were given in the war, them holding on to some of them at least, after. Resulting in a new social contract being drawn up between the sexes after 1945. However, successive generations have seen continual conflicts, from Vietnam to Iraq to Syria, with each next clique of rulers, both the men and the women who work for them, loving to send their men and bombs, every few years.

To conclude you could say, like what i said in the beginning, that these contrasting theories, whilst on first sight, may appear contradictory, in the real word there is definitely a certain amount of cross over, with societies existing on different levels at the same time. So for example, marriage seems to be making something of a comeback, despite being on the wane for many years. Which in itself can be looked at again from both a functionalist and conflict standpoint. But I will let you explore this further if you want. These are two points you could explore in the essay, let me know if you need any more ideas okay?

BTW please don't copy and paste, but rewrite these points in your own words, if you are going to use them thanks! (PS and you don't have to cite me, because this is only Access!)
Thank you for your very thorough reply.
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john2054
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(Original post by mel_l218)
Hi beautifulbigmacs, thanks for your reply, when I look at the feminist/Marxist/functionalist approach in the text books, it mentions the various approaches to education, family, work, is this the type of thing to talk about in relation to whether society is best understood in terms of conflict or consensus? I'm just confused if I'm on the right lines or not.

Thanks again.
You have to choose a couple of areas, with some examples, in order to construct your essay around it.
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mel_l218
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(Original post by john2054)
You have to choose a couple of areas, with some examples, in order to construct your essay around it.
Sorry, by couple of areas do you mean education, family, work? I don't know if it's the cold I'm getting over or just my frazzled brain that's not getting it, haha.

Thanks
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john2054
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(Original post by mel_l218)
Sorry, by couple of areas do you mean education, family, work? I don't know if it's the cold I'm getting over or just my frazzled brain that's not getting it, haha.

Thanks
yes, also do you understand what the terms consensus and conflict, and the ideas are behind marxism, feminism and functionalist theory?
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mel_l218
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(Original post by john2054)
yes, also do you understand what the terms consensus and conflict, and the ideas are behind marxism, feminism and functionalist theory?
We talked about them in class, conflict-inequality of power, wealth and status, opposing classes, exploitation of working class. Consensus-all areas of society & social institutions working together in harmony, shared values, beliefs and norms.
Marxism-Karl Marx, opposing classes, bourgeoise & proletariat, the elite exploiting the working class, Feminism-political movement & theory focusing on the exploitation and oppression of women, inequalities and stereotypes. Functionalism-Durkheim, how parts society relate to one another & work together, importance of shared values and maintaining social order.

Am I on the right lines?

Thanks again
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john2054
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(Original post by mel_l218)
We talked about them in class, conflict-inequality of power, wealth and status, opposing classes, exploitation of working class. Consensus-all areas of society & social institutions working together in harmony, shared values, beliefs and norms.
Marxism-Karl Marx, opposing classes, bourgeoise & proletariat, the elite exploiting the working class, Feminism-political movement & theory focusing on the exploitation and oppression of women, inequalities and stereotypes. Functionalism-Durkheim, how parts society relate to one another & work together, importance of shared values and maintaining social order.

Am I on the right lines?

Thanks again
Yes now choose two fields, the family and work for example, and relate these to them, Using examples. Can you do this for me now??
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mel_l218
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(Original post by john2054)
Yes now choose two fields, the family and work for example, and relate these to them, Using examples. Can you do this for me now??
Okay, I'll need to have look through the text books & make some more notes, thank you for all your help, much appreciated.
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beautifulbigmacs
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It sounds like the essay task wants you to explain the theories in terms of their key factors. In this regard, I would say that using examples from any area of society will be suitable. I should hop that this doesn't make your essay too broad because in the main you'll be talking about main theories (functionalism etc) in and of themselves.

(Original post by mel_l218)
Hi beautifulbigmacs, thanks for your reply, when I look at the feminist/Marxist/functionalist approach in the text books, it mentions the various approaches to education, family, work, is this the type of thing to talk about in relation to whether society is best understood in terms of conflict or consensus? I'm just confused if I'm on the right lines or not.

Thanks again.
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mel_l218
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(Original post by beautifulbigmacs)
It sounds like the essay task wants you to explain the theories in terms of their key factors. In this regard, I would say that using examples from any area of society will be suitable. I should hop that this doesn't make your essay too broad because in the main you'll be talking about main theories (functionalism etc) in and of themselves.
Thank you.
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