Functionalism and Marxism: Education and Employment

Sociologists study individual society. Their subject matter includes human behaviour in various public contexts, social interaction, social institutions and organisation, interpersonal change and development (Haralmbos, Van Krieken, Smith & Holborn 1999). For this reason, unemployment can be an issue which sociologists delve. Unemployment has significant affects in all areas of culture. Stratification in the areas of age, race, class, gender, ethnicity, making love and impairment is rife among the utilized and unemployed likewise, unemployment creates further segregation amongst these already stratified people. This essay can look at unemployment from the efficient and conflict theory perspective, as well how four main corporations (family, education, authorities and health) are afflicted by unemployment. It will take a look at Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim and their contribution to sociology and the idea of functionalism and discord. Unemployment affects most people to some degree during their lives, the necessity to know how we can package with the problem is becoming critically important to culture as a whole.

Functionalist Theory

Function is an unclear term, often employed by orthodox sociologists to establish the rational and social place of roles, organizations and set ups in conditions of the development and reproductionof a world as a sociable system - as in the idea that the function of the family is to socialise new customers of culture (Bessant & Watts, 1999).

Functionalists believe that everything serves a particular function inside our population and these functions have to be understood. Everyone has a job to fill in this functional society, in other words we need to have stratification in order everyone has an objective. Functionalists are incredibly boundaried and skinny within the square. Because of this theory to essentially work, there needs to be a consensus between the people that make up contemporary society, they need to consider everything is in the best interest of the so called utopia. There is actually no issue of interest. This will not seem possible in this modern day, so can functionalism still be considered a plausible theory. It can of course have its merits, yes everything has its function, but these functions are up for a amount of interpretation and change. Unfortunately functionalism does not clarify change except in a gradual evolutionary way.

Conflict Theory

Conflict theory is a body of theories including marxism, which says that all communal orders are fractured by communal discord, typically between classes and other teams, over control of valued resources including wealth, electric power and property (Bessant & Watts, 1999). Conflict theorists believe conflict is the basis of cultural order and that a minority of men and women with power are able to impose their will over others. There is a issue of interest, people have different goals and purpose. They will use whatever means to gain this, even to the detriment of others in their culture. Those with more vitality and money be capable of gain a higher level of services by the main institutions inside our culture (such as education and health), thus creating a greater degree of stratification in culture. Therefore creates more turmoil as those who cannot find the services they want choose deviant or dependant methods to gain the same baisc needs. Regrettably this is a vicious group which continues to breed contempt from both edges of the fence in our society.


Durkheim (1858-1917) was one of the initial 'founding fathers' of positivist sociology (functional theory), his matter was how to preserve society. The foundation for public order (how population hung collectively and worked as time passes) had not been economic but moral for Durkheim, portrayed in the kind of solidarity a world exhibited (Willis, 1999).

Durkheim was particularly concerned to distinguish public facts, which he sometimes described as "areas of the collective mind, " from the varieties these claims assumed when manifested through private specific minds. This difference is most apparent in situations of customs, moral and legal rights and religious values etc.


For Karl Marx (1818-1883), the change needed to be understood generally as a big change in the financial structure of societies; a change in the means where economic production was organised from something called feudalism to 1 called capitalism (Willis 1999). Marx was a man seeking to understand society, he followed a variety of pathways and was alienated many times for his ideas. His ideas on value and surplus value, accumulation, exploitation, pauperization, crisis and appropriation, category have difficulty and revolution made no immediate impact on the staff' movements, until after his loss of life in 1883 (Rius 1999).


We are going into a new stage in world record - one in which fewer and fewer and fewer personnel will be had a need to produce the products and services for the global human population. . . For the whole of the present day era, people's worthy of has been assessed by the market value of the labour. . . now new ways of defining human value and social connections will need to be explored (Rifkin 1996). Life has evolved, globalization and feminism have had a huge impact on the work environment throughout the world. Technology in addition has made many careers redundant. Unemployment has become a concern allaround the globe, explanations of the phenomenom are good deal of. How can unemployment serve an objective, or is it just another chance for the powerful to stamp on people that have less power? The government views the unemployment situation as an idividual problem. It really is due to the insufficient training of the individual, they now make people have training to continue to get unemployment benefits. That is a good idea so far as keeping the average person busy and increasing the self-esteem and knowledge, but what then? We are now creating a lot of skilled people for positions which don't can be found. We have to look at just why there are not enough positions to hire these individuals. If it's not lack of skills, then what is it? Can it be that they administration or us as a contemporary society are not doing enough to promotebusiness in Australia, instead mailing our work fill overseas for cheaper labour. We need to check out why the positions are non existant rather than supposing it's the individuals fault. Unemployment impacts our society in so many ways. The four main institutions I am looking at are family, education, health insurance and government.

Firstly the family, unemployment places added financial and mental pressure on the family. Having less income can cause many individuals to have to live without the basic needs which we neglect, they then need to carefully turn to welfare companies in order to survive. Lack of income also means children frequently have to miss out on school activities

and activities programs as the family budget can no longer stretch the length. This monetary stress can cause breakdown in both individual and family. This can turn in home violence, alcoholism, playing, family dysfunction and even suicide. Unemployment has such wide ranging affects on family life. Alcoholism, smoking, the against the law use of drugs and crime are associated with unemployment (Makkai 1994). This can then be made even more significant when their is further stratification induced by age, disability, ethnicity, gender, making love, category and race. For instance, if your race was the one that expected the men to work and the better half to stay at home and raise the children. When you feel unemployed, you might lose your ranking as both a hubby and person in your community, as you can't provide appropriately for your family. Each of these aspects further increases the impact of unemployment.

Secondly, there may be education. General public versus private is already a hotly argued concern, do children get an improved education from private or general population education. This is not a concern for Australians who cannot spend the money for private education system. It is still challenging though to cover books, uniforms, excursions, camps and other institution activities. Add unemployment and the issue becomes even harder. In the event that you currently have your children in private education and be unemployed, you may well not have the ability to meet up with the financial needs. Taking your child out of the college and changing them to the general public education system can then be very distressing for everyone engaged. Once again add the other stratification issues mentioned before and the situation can become very volatile. You might have certain known reasons for attending special institutions, if then cannot find the money for to maintain this case what happens to your child. For example, a particular institution for your disabled child, mainstream open public school might not exactly have the ability to handle your childs disability. Your child is then kept in a situation which is detrimental to their well being.

Thirdly, administration, unemployment is such a hot concern with voters that the federal government must be seen to be doing as much as they can to help the situation. They are really always making promises to diminish the unemployment rate, regrettably the unmployment rate will not really give a precise picture of just how many people are out of work. It is merely those who are authorized as looking for work. The government provides welfare and training for unemployed but they do not seem to see the bigger picture. The federal government also creates stratification by having different repayments and services for different races, somewhat than basing services provided on an individual needs basis. For example, Austudy and Abstudy.

Finally, health system, medical system is hit hard by unemployment especially with the drop in bulk billing. Many unemployed people cannot afford to visit a non-bulk billing doctor so instead go into their local crisis department. That is creating congestion in the crisis department. Addititionally there is an increase of disease (mental and physical) and suicide among the unemployed. This is creating an enormous sketch on our medicare and health system. Those on low incomes or unemployed cannot afford to have private health insurance, so are therefore no getting all the assistance they need. We could creating a system where people are going out of illnesses and injuries until they are very serious because of the fact that they can not afford to see a specialist.

We will now check out what the functionalists and the discord theorists say about it.

Unemployment (Functionalism)

Functionalists consider unemployment serves a purpose in society. We need unemployment in our society, it takes on its own part. For all people who are or have been unemployed, it is hard to observe how it can possibly be best for society, area of the master plan. Unemployment creates much misery and additional increases the challenge of stratification.

Those in the underprivileged category have to rely on government handouts, which only creates further poverty as those people struggle to pay the bills. This in turn influences the family framework by adding extra money pressures. This is the point though, unemployed people create work for centrelink staff, welfare organizations, counsellors and keep cheap discount stores in work. In addition, it sustains that there will always be someone to take the menial careers that others don't want. Those lower classed people will do the jobs others won't. We need the divisions to ensure there are visitors to cover all types of places in culture.

Unemployment (Turmoil Theory)

Conflict theorists see unemployment as more proof those in a robust or priviledged position taking benefit of others. Power is the emphasis can be an work situation, while hired you have a certain amount of electricity, both over your projects environment as well as your own life. Once unemployed you become powerless, reliant on the federal government to provide you money. Once in this position, a person is likely to take a job which is below their talents and for less pay, just to be able to be earning money. The difference in school and standing is constantly on the increase. People that have money, do not need to stoop to this type of position, they can instead hang on until an

appropriate job comes up or they can indulge in further education to improve their position even more.


Unemployment plays are major part inside our society, its impacts are wide reaching. The implication that unemployment can be an individual problem credited to lack of skills, only seeks to improve the problem. The theory that who our company is is depicted with what we do as a job, creates further stratification of our world. Long-term unemployment has been proven to be one of the main contributors to home assault and other varieties of crime, as well as psychological health problems and suicide (Baker 1993).

Whether we look at unemployment from an operating or conflict point of view, there is absolutely no right or incorrect answer. We need to consider it from both perspectives to get an improved idea of the situation, and then to look at possible ways of dealing with the problem. There will be unemployment scheduled to changes in the environment, if they are biological or technological. For this reason further insights into how contemporary society deals with unemployment is

necessary. Stratification is a main aspect of the evolution of any society's social id, when this is compounded with unemployment, alienation and dysfunction becomes a outcome.

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