The functionalist theory of stratification is an inadequate explanation of contemporary social inequality.
The functionalist theory of social stratification that was developed in the 1940s and 1950s states that social stratification does exist in our societies. This stratification exhibits forms of hierarchical patterns which have been designed by human beings because they are inevitable in our societies (Ferrante 2010). This result in difference is seen in the occupations that people undertake and the salaries that they take home therefore exhibiting some individuals as more important than others. For instance an artisan cannot be compared to a doctor because the former is considered of less importance than a doctor.
Believers of the Marxist school of thought don’t seem to agree to this because their argument supports the fact that social life is based on issues around conflict and ability to exploit resources (Hale 20101). Marx strongly believed that society was marked by conflicts and not consensus as proclaimed by functionalist theorists. This argument was in regard to the conflicts like the anti- Vietnam movement that had emerged in North America in the 1960s. The Marxist approach in this case sought to explain what was happening at the time whereas the structural functionalist approach did not give adequate explanations to the conflicts and the power relations that exist within society.
The feminist school of thought on the other hand, tries to bring forth the relationship between micro sociology and macro sociology. On its part, it explicitly explains the integral role that women play in society thereby bringing a balance in society. On their part, feminists argued that society seemed to ignore the roles women played in bringing a balance and that society was biased through its acknowledgement of the functionalist theory of social stratification. Through their perspective, taking care of children at home does not make a woman less important but rather as important as a male doctor who goes to work.
It is therefore evident that the functionalist theory of social stratification ignored the pertinent issues that affect society in regard to how people live (Hale 2010). In order for everyone to feel socially secure, it is inevitable to assume the critical role of cohesion through all that is considered morally right or wrong. This way, persons in society can coexist and acknowledge each other as important. In such an eventuality, society will see a doctor and a farmer as important in equal measure.
Ferrante, J. (2010). Sociology: A Global Perspective. Belmont: Cengage Learning
Hale, S. (2010). Contested Sociology: Rethinking Canadian Experience. Toronto: Pearson