Presentation on theme: "The Basic Perspectives (9/2) Chicago Sociology Conflict theory: Marx Functional theory: Durkheim Conflict and functional theory as feedback systems."— Presentation transcript:
The Basic Perspectives (9/2) Chicago Sociology Conflict theory: Marx Functional theory: Durkheim Conflict and functional theory as feedback systems
Sociological Approaches Sociological Approaches Human behavior is socially determined insofar as it is socially shaped. The Chicago School showed that different neighborhoods had very different rates of crime, addiction, juvenile delinquency, illegitimacy, academic failure, etc. –This demonstrated that some kind of lawful process was operating which can be understood scientifically. –You do not usually need to know which persons will engage in an act in order to understand and predict rates. –Something about some neighborhoods led to higher rates of pathology there.
Implications of different rates The different rates highlighted the basic insight of sociology, that human behavior is socially shaped. The high rates were not the result of biology, because even when all the people died or when the whole composition of the area changed, the rates remained the same. Chicago theorists argued that they resulted from the social structure
Explanations of different rates There were two main kinds of explanations of what was the social structural problem. There were two main kinds of explanations of what was the social structural problem. 1. Functionalist sociologists mainly explained the rates in terms of the norms and values embedded in churches, families, schools or gangs. I.e. the people in different neighborhoods were being socialized into different subcultures Migration: various groups experienced similar disruption of families and loss of traditions. 2. Conflict theorists explained them in terms of class and the different life chances built into the class structure. I.e. different rents and housing costs sort people by class, and the different resources of different groups produce different life chances and subcultures. 3. The third perspective, the Interactionist perspective, is a hybrid that mainly operates at the individual level. 3. The third perspective, the Interactionist perspective, is a hybrid that mainly operates at the individual level.
Chicago theorists argued that the rates resulted from the structure This demonstrated some kind of lawful process which can be understood scientifically. People may be "choosing" to engage in those actions, but it is a constrained choice. Something about some neighborhoods led to higher rates of pathology there. Chicago theorists also argued that socially produced problems could be socially changed by changing the conditions.
The major sources of crime and delinquency in Chicago Neighborhoods had high rates when: –1) They were poor –2) ethnically or racially fractionalized –3) mobile with few stable families and institutions. But these could be understood either sub culturally (Functional) or as class and group conflict and competition (Conflict Theory).
Functional/Conflict Perspectives Functionalism and conflict theory are two different ways of explaining how the structure fits together. Functionalists see social institutions as connected like organs in a body. Def: * (p.23) An approach that focuses on how social parts contribute to society as a system. Image: façade of the Alamo Examples: Emile Durkheim (Parsons, Smelser) Conflict theorists see different groups as having different interests. Def. *(p.26) focuses on conflict in society. Image: the back of the façade Example: Karl Marx (Joe Feagin, Massey, Reskin, M. Burawoy – last 4 pres. of ASA)
Functional and Conflict models differ about what is the main force producing social problems Functional: The breakdown of families and morals produce crime, AIDs, etc. Conflict: Poverty produces crime: brutal conditions are brutalizing crime AIDs, etc. Weakening of families and morals Poverty Weakening of families Poverty Educational failure Gangs, drugs, crime. Educational failure
The systemic reasons for stressing norms and/or resources But the stress on families or on poverty results from different theories about which forces are most important, dynamically. There is a disagreement between different sociologists about what forces are most important in driving change in the long run. Functionalists stress norms and values as control systems. Conflict theorists stress resources and power as systems of accumulation.
Thermostats as Control Systems A thermostat is a control system that is designed to maintain a relatively constant temperature. When the temperature goes up, the furnace is turned off, bringing the temperature back down. –And when the temperature falls, the furnace goes on. –Thus a low temperature causes a rise; a high one, a fall. Systems theory and cybernetics explored many such control systems. An organism needs many such systems to maintain temperature, blood sugar, electrolyte balance, arousal, etc. Low temperature Furnace activity + -
A system with negative feedbacks acts like a marble in a bowl A thermostat will mean that any rise in the temperature will trigger a process that will cause the temperature to tend to fall. Therefore it resists change. A norm works that way; So does a role, such as a job, that is designed to make sure some set of tasks get done. Functionalist sociology found many social structures that act this way.
A Systemic model of Functions Society is a control system. Norms, socialized in families are the controls. –E.g. Durkheim’s theory of crime and punishment. –Norms are what keep social life livable. –Punishment re-establishes norms when they weaken. Crime is “functional” in the sense that enforcement is one of the main ways the rules are defined. CRIMEPUNISHMENT + -
Functions, controls and norms The idea that social structure rests on a number of control systems has played a major role in 20 th c. sociology. Often, this is connected with the notion that the roles and connections to primary groups such as families and churches establish norms, which are then enforced by the law and other institutions. This is called the functionalist perspective. It usually explains situations such as those in 187, as the breakdown or weakening of those control systems.
A Systemic model of conflict: the vicious cycle A very different set of systems is stressed by Conflict theorists, who see society as like a game of Monopoly Resources aid in getting access to more resources, and so the rich get richer. Many other resources accumulate, like properties: E.g. education, health care, skills, contacts, family, drug- free, crime-free, gang-free environments, etc. Producing privileged and disprivileged groups. PROPERTIES RENTS + +
The vicious cycle and a reverse thermostat Imagine what the temperature would be like if the thermostat was designed to turn the furnace on when the temperature went up and to turn it off when it went down. The temperature would fluctuate wildly; the room would become unlivable; effects of history would persist. The problem is that there are many processes that behave in this way. For example, the accumulation of property and privilege. Resources gives better access to further resources. TEMPERATURE FURNACE ACTIVITY + +
A System with positive feedbacks behaves like a marble on a hill A classic example of a conflict theory system is a game of Monopoly. Your property determines your income; and your income determines your property. And so no matter how nice people are or how equal in ability or resources at the beginning, as some players gain a slight lead, they get to acquire and improve properties, getting more ahead. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer until the game destroys itself.
Vicious Cycle Feedbacks and Native Americans There were about 30million Native Americans on North America when the Europeans arrived. There were about 300,000 in 1900 By the 19th century, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian” and both formal policy and individual actions accomplished that. But Europeans did not get off the boats and start shooting. Loss of land, poverty, marginalization, broken families, alcoholism, smallpox, tribal wars, social breakdown all reinforced racism which reinforced these conditions.
Functionalism in sociology e.g.E. Durkheim (1858-1916) * ** Functionalism in sociology e.g.E. Durkheim (1858-1916) * ** ** Durkheim is discussed in most chapters of Sociology, Micro, Macro and Mega Functionalism appears in all chapters Functionalism believes that the society is an organic system –The main forms of modern functionalism stress norms as the social thermostat. – Fundamental concepts: function, social integration; norms; normative integration.
Conflict theory in sociology: Karl Marx** (1818-83) Marx’ economic model of profit, interest and rent said that there is a tendency for the labor market, the capital market, etc. to operate like a game of Monopoly. And his theory of alienation says that the accumulation of power, status, education, skills, health services, etc. often acts the same way. Many people believe that unless social policy intervenes to assure a “New Deal,” and “Fair Deal,” etc. markets will behave like Monopoly.
For next time Class time: 1000-09 - 9:30 –1000-13 – 12:30 Questions: 1. Social Dynamics. What are the long term effects of actions and changes? The effects of changes in a complex, interdependent system are not always obvious. 2. The interconnection of social problems. Does your social problem appear in 187? How is it connected to the other problems pictured? 3. Equal opportunity. Do students in E. L.A. and in 90210 have equal opportunity ? If not, what would it take to make opportunities equal?