The Study Of The Human Society Sociology Essay Essay

essay A+

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

Sociologists study human society. Their capable affair includes human behavior in assorted societal contexts, societal interaction, societal establishments and administration, societal alteration and development ( Haralmbos, Van Krieken, Smith & A ; Holborn 1999 ) . For this ground, unemployment is an issue which sociologists delve. Unemployment has far making affects in all countries of society. Stratification in the countries of age, race, category, gender, ethnicity, sex and disablement is prevailing amongst the employed and unemployed alike, unemployment creates farther segregation amongst these already graded people. This essay will look at unemployment from the functional and struggle theory position, every bit good how four chief establishments ( household,

instruction, authorities and wellness ) are affected by unemployment. It will besides look at Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim and their part to sociology and the theory of functionalism and struggle. Unemployment affects about everyone to some grade during their lives, the demand to understand how we can cover with the issue is going critically of import to society as a whole.

Functionalist Theory

Function is an ill-defined term, frequently used by Orthodox sociologists to specify the logical and societal topographic point of functions, establishments and constructions in footings of the production and reproductionof a society as a societal

system – as in the thought that the map of the household is to socialize new members of society ( Bessant & A ; Watts, 1999 ) .

Functionalists believe everything serves a specific map in our society and these maps need to be understood. Everyone has a function to make full in this functional society, in other words we need to hold stratification so as everyone has a intent. Functionalists are really

boundaried and thin within the square. For this theory to truly work, there needs to be a consensus amongst the persons that make up society, they need to believe everything is in the best involvement of this so called Utopia. There is evidently no struggle of involvement. This does non look possible in this modern age, so can functionalism still be considered a plausible theory. It does of class have its virtues, yes everything does hold its map, but these maps are up for a grade of reading and alteration. Unfortunately functionalism

does non explicate alteration except in a gradual evolutionary manner.

Conflict Theory

Conflict theory is a organic structure of theories including Marxism, which claims that all societal orders are fractured by societal struggle, typically between categories and other groups, over control of valued resources including wealth, power and belongings ( Bessant & A ; Watts, 1999 ) . Conflict theoreticians believe that struggle is the footing of societal order and that a minority of people with power are able to enforce their will over others. There is a struggle of involvement, people have different ends and intent. They will utilize whatever agencies to derive this, even to the hurt of others in their society. Those with more power and money have the ability to derive a higher degree of services by the chief establishments in our society ( such as instruction and wellness ) , therefore making a greater degree of stratification in society. This in bend creates more struggle as those who can non acquire the services they need turn to deviant or dependant methods to derive the same baisc demands. Unfortunately it is a barbarous circle which continues to engender disdain from both sides of the fencing in our society.


Durkheim ( 1858-1917 ) was one of the original ‘founding male parents ‘ of rationalist sociology ( functional theory ) , his concern was how to continue society. The footing for societal order ( how society hung together and worked over clip ) was non economic but moral for Durkheim, expressed in the type of solidarity that a society exhibited ( Willis,1999 ) .

Durkheim was peculiarly concerned to separate societal facts, which he sometimes described as “ provinces of the corporate head, ” from the signifiers these provinces assumed when manifested through private single heads. This differentiation is most obvious in instances of imposts,

moral and legal rights and spiritual beliefs etc.


For Karl Marx ( 1818-1883 ) , the transmutation had to be understood chiefly as a alteration in the economic construction of societies ; a alteration in the agencies by which economic production was organised from a system called feudal system to one called capitalist economy ( Willis 1999 ) . Marx was a adult male looking to understand society, he followed many different waies and was alienated many times for his thoughts. His theories on value and excess value, accretion, development,

indigence, crisis and appropriation, category battle and revolution made no immediate impact on the workers ‘ motion, until after his decease in 1883 ( Rius 1999 ) .


We are come ining a new stage in universe history – 1 in which fewer and fewer and fewer workers will be needed to bring forth the goods and services for the planetary population… For the whole of the modern epoch, people ‘s worth has been measured by the market value of their labors… now new ways of specifying human worth and societal relationships will necessitate to be explored ( Rifkin 1996 ) . Life has changed, globalisation and feminism have had a immense impact on the work environment around the universe. Technology has besides made many occupations redundant. Unemployment has become an issue allaround the Earth, accounts of this phenomenom are enough. How does unemployment function a intent, or is it merely another opportunity for the powerful to stomp on those with less power? The authorities views the unemployment state of affairs as an idividual job. It is due to the deficiency of preparation of the person, they now make people have developing to go on to acquire unemployment benefits. This is a great thought every bit far as maintaining the person busy and increasing the self-esteem and cognition, but what so? We are now making alot of qualified people for places which do n’t be. We need to look at why there are non adequate places to use these persons. If it is non deficiency of accomplishments, so what is it? Could it be that they authorities or us as a society are non making plenty to promotebusiness in Australia, alternatively directing our work burden overseas for cheaper labor. We need to look at why the places are non existant instead than presuming it is the persons mistake. Unemployment affects our society in so many ways. The four chief establishments I am looking at are household, instruction, wellness and authorities.

First the household, unemployment topographic points added fiscal and mental strain on the household. The deficiency of income can do many households to hold to populate without the basic necessities which we take for granted, they so need to turn to welfare bureaus in order to last. Lack of income besides means kids frequently have to lose out on school activities

and athleticss plans as the household budget can no longer stretch the distance. This pecuniary strain can do dislocation in both the person and household. This can turn in domestic force, alcohol addiction, chancing, household disfunction and even suicide. Unemployment has such broad runing affects on household life. Alcoholism, smoke, the illegal usage of drugs and offense are associated with unemployment ( Makkai 1994 ) .This can so be made even more important when their is farther stratification caused by age, disablement, ethnicity, gender, sex, category and race. For illustration, if your race was one that expected the work forces to work and the married woman to remain at place and raise the kids. When you become unemployed, you may lose your standing as both a hubby and member of your community, as you can no longer supply suitably for your household. Each of these facets further increases the impact of unemployment.

Second, there is instruction. Public versus private is already a heatedly argued issue, do kids acquire a better instruction from private or public instruction. This is non an issue for Australians who can non afford the private instruction system. It is still a battle though to pay for books, uniforms, jaunts, cantonments and other school activities. Add in unemployment and the issue becomes even harder. If you presently have your kids in private instruction and go unemployed, you may non be able to run into the fiscal demands. Taking your kid out

of their school and altering them to the public instruction system can so be really traumatic for everyone involved. Once once more add any of the other stratification issues mentioned before and the state of affairs can go really volatile. You may hold certain grounds for go toing particular schools, if so can non afford to keep this state of affairs what happens to your kid. For illustration, a particular school for your handicapped kid, mainstream public school may non be able to manage your kids disablement. Your kid is so left in a state of affairs which is damaging to their well being.

Third, authorities, unemployment is such a hot issue with electors that the authorities must be seen to be making every bit much as they can to assist the state of affairs. They are ever doing promises to diminish the unemployment rate, unluckily the unmployment rate does non truly give an accurate image of how many people are out of work. It is merely those who are registered as looking for work. The authorities provides public assistance and preparation for unemployed but they do non look to see the bigger image. The authorities besides creates stratification by holding different payments and services for different races, instead than establishing services provided on an single needs footing. For illustration, Austudy and Abstudy.

Finally, wellness system, the wellness system is hit difficult by unemployment particularly with the bead in bulk charge. Many unemployed people can non afford to travel to a non-bulk charge physician so alternatively travel into their local exigency section. This is doing congestion in the exigency section. There is besides an addition of unwellness ( mental and physical ) and suicide amongst the unemployed. This is making a immense draw on our Medicare and wellness system. Those on low incomes or unemployed can non afford to hold private wellness insurance, so are hence no acquiring all the aid they need. We are making a system where people are go forthing unwellnesss and hurts until they are rather serious due to the fact that they can non afford to see a specializer.

We will now look at what the functionalists and the struggle theoreticians say about it.

Unemployment ( Functionalism )

Functionalists believe unemployment serves a intent in society. We need unemployment in our society, it plays its ain portion. For all those who are or have been unemployed, it is difficult to see how it can perchance be good for society, portion of the maestro program. Unemployment creates so much wretchedness and farther additions the job of stratification.

Those in the underprivileged category have to trust on authorities press releases, which merely creates farther poorness as those people struggle to do ends meet. This in bend affects the household construction by adding excess money force per unit areas. This is the point though, unemployed people create work for centrelink staff, public assistance bureaus, counselors and maintain inexpensive price reduction shops in work. It besides maintains that there will ever be person to take the menial occupations that others do n’t desire. Those lower classed people will make the occupations others wo n’t. We need the divisions to do certain there are people to cover all types of topographic points in society.

Unemployment ( Conflict Theory )

Conflict theoreticians see unemployment as more grounds of those in a powerful or priviledged place taking advantage of others. Power is the accent is an employment state of affairs, while employed you have a certain sum of power, both over your work environment and your ain life. Once unemployed you become powerless, reliant on the authorities to supply you an income. Once in this place, an person is likely to take a occupation which is below their abilities and for less wage, merely so as to be gaining an income. The difference in category and standing continues to increase. Those with money, do non necessitate to crouch to this type of place, they can alternatively wait until an

appropriate occupation comes up or they can indulge in farther instruction to better their place even more.


Unemployment dramas are major portion in our society, its affects are broad making. The deduction that unemployment is an single job due to miss of accomplishments, merely seeks to increase the job. The thought that who we are is depicted by what we do as a occupation, creates farther stratification of our society. Long-run unemployment has been shown to be one of the most of import subscribers to domestic force and other signifiers of offense, every bit good as psychological unwellness and self-destruction ( Baker 1993 ) .

Whether we look at unemployment from a functional or conflict position, there is no right or incorrect reply. We need to look at it from both positions to acquire a better thought of the state of affairs, and so to look at possible ways of covering with the issue. There will ever be unemployment due to alterations in the environment, whether they are biological or technological. For this ground farther penetrations into how society trades with unemployment is

necessary. Stratification is a chief facet of the development of a society ‘s societal individuality, when this is compounded with unemployment, disaffection and disfunction becomes a effect.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member