SOC-100: Short-Answer Quiz 6
- Compare and contrast the conflict and the functionalist perspective relative to the political system in the United States. Select one current issue such as healthcare, immigration, or one of your choosing and discuss the issue from both perspectives.
Both the conflict and the functionalist perspectives agree that the US political system has the role of maintaining social order. However, both perspectives have clear differences on the issue. According to functionalists, the political system in the US plays the role of enforcing norms and regulating conflict. The role of the government is to seek order and consensus in society. According to functionalists, the US political system has four functions. These include maintenance of law and order, management of international relations, meeting social needs, and planning and directing society. On the other hand, the conflict perspective holds that conflicts in the US political system are necessary. Such conflicts bring about social change which advances social order. Through social change, people gain economic stability and personal freedom.
- Describe your family dynamics from the functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interactionist perspectives.
From a functionalist perspective, my family plays various functions. First, my family plays the role of providing practical and emotional support to every member of the family. From the family, we get basic and essentials needs, love, and comfort. When one of us is in emotional distress, our family is always there to provide support. Second, in our family, we are taught about sexual activity. Third, the family gives us a social identity. This is important because a social identity influences the advantages one gets throughout life. For some, the identity they acquire from parents comes with some advantages while for other students it comes with many life obstacles.
- What are the sociological characteristics of religion in the United States? Build an argument that religion is likely to remain a strong feature of life in the United States or why religion may not remain a strong feature in the lives of Americans.
Religion in the US is characterized by freedom of worship, and diverse religious beliefs and practices. In the US, the First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the impeding of free religious exercise. This protects religion from government interference allowing religion to flourish in the country. Second, religion in the US is characterized by diverse religious beliefs and practices. Many faiths are flourishing in the US. Third, the US religion is characterized by a high adherence level. From symbolic interactionism, when beliefs and practices are regarded as sacred, they become significant and meaningful in people’s lives. This explains the high adherence level. In this case, religion is likely to remain a strong feature of life in the United States.
- Select one of the sociological perspectives, the functionalist, conflict, or symbolic interactionist, and analyze the problems facing K-12 education in the United States. Describe three or four solutions that you would like to present to your local school board to improve the educational system.
From the conflict perspective, the problems facing K-12 education in the US are tracking and standardized testing. These practices promote social inequality in schools. When teachers begin tracking students in grade school, ‘bright students’ are placed together. Other students are placed in slower tracks. This locks students into lower and faster tracks continuing social inequality. The other problem is the use of standardized tests. According to conflict theorists, standardized tests favor students some students whose backgrounds provide various experiences that help in answering the standardized tests. To solve the problem of tracking, the school board should consider two alternatives. First, the school should stop the practice of separating students by ability. Alternatively, the school board should encourage a mixed-ability group approach in the classroom. This would eliminate the possibility of perpetuating social inequality. The board may consider offering low-stakes testing or portfolio-based assessment to prevent the effect of standardized testing.