Both structural-functionalists and social-conflict theorists try to study and analyze social problems and issues at the macro-level. However, they both differ in their perceptions as to how notions of power are distributed within U.S. society. Choose of the two approaches, and address the following questions: 
  1. How does this approach perceive the distribution of U.S. power in society?
  2. Do you agree with this approach? Why or why not? 
  3. What are the limitations of this approach? 

***Your response (blog post) to this blog above is required by Tuesday, December 6, 2011  at 11:59 p.m.***
Nadja
12/4/2011 23:31:40

1. 1. The structural conflict theory perceives the distribution of U.S. power is the power elite model. In comparison to the structural functionalist who say that there are enough different orginazations to create democracy, the social conflict says there is a few very organizations that hold most of the power. This is created by the political economy because the wealthy get wealthier off of the backs of the workers. The wealthy become very wealthy and don’t share it with the proletariat or create policies that are in the proletariats interest. For example unions were created to help workers because the bosses want to make labor as cheap as possible and make more money in the name of capitalism even when it hurts their workers. Lots of the people in the government are also rich and also care about capitalism more than workers and don’t make laws to help working conditions without intervention with unions or general strikes. This is an unequal power distribution because if there weren’t unions it would be a lot more harder for workers rights and voices to be recognized in public policy. Most of the power is in the hands of the rich which does not foster a democratic government.

1. The structural conflict theory perceives the distribution of U.S. power is the power elite model. In comparison to the structural functionalist who say that there are enough different orginazations to create democracy, the social conflict says there is a few very organizations that hold most of the power. This is created by the political economy because the wealthy get wealthier off of the backs of the workers. The wealthy become very wealthy and don’t share it with the proletariat or create policies that are in the proletariats interest. For example unions were created to help workers because the bosses want to make labor as cheap as possible and make more money in the name of capitalism even when it hurts their workers. Lots of the people in the government are also rich and also care about capitalism more than workers and don’t make laws to help working conditions without intervention with unions or general strikes. This is an unequal power distribution because if there weren’t unions it would be a lot more harder for workers rights and voices to be recognized in public policy. Most of the power is in the hands of the rich which does not foster a democratic government.

2. I agree with this approach because it’s a struggle for poor people in this country to be respected and taken care of by the government. For example look at what is happening now millions of people are homeless because of rich people betting on the economy. There were no regulations to stop this insanity of the economy today. There still isn’t. If there were, poor people would be being helped in this mess that was by no means something they caused or were in control of, instead of being ignored. Luckily people are figuring out they have to start taking the law into their own hands. That’s why they are occupying places they no longer want be left out of the picture. This country was created so the British could have access to more resources and make more money. America got it’s independence from them but it does the same thing the British wanted, we just hog all the resources and wealth for ourselves.

3. The limitations to this view is its hard to put into practice. There have been a lot of problems with socialism and communism. Its hard for those in power also not be ready to share their power. In Russia there was a huge genocide of people who threatened the power of Stalin and freedom was not allowed to be expressed in that country. Also new inventions created by competing might be less do to focus on the society. Collectivism has its own problems too. Individuality is sometimes not celebrated as it is in capitalist countries.

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12/5/2011 17:01:37

The Social-conflict approach precieves the distribution of U.S. power as the power-elite model. This states that the top leaders in this country are the corporations, military, and government. It is clear that most tax paying citizens are working hard to just maintain their basic needs. The average U.S. household has seen many hardships in recent years and their lives and the lives of their children have been affected. The rich seem to get richer and poor are struggling to keep up. I totally agree with this approach because of the obvious social inequality in our society. The middle class is almost non-existant, most are either at the top or at the bottom. It is evident that the Marxist Political-Economy Model, which states that the power is in the hands of a few of the elite due to the capitalist system, is the source of social inequality.

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Fraol Bejiga
12/5/2011 18:26:22

The social-conflict theory perceives the distribution of power in U.S. society as unfair and unjust. Power is concentrated in the hands of few privileged and influential groups, where as the rest of the society especially the minorities are pushed to the margin. This puts society off-balance. Capitalist system divides society by class and status resulting in unequal distribution of wealth and power. The separation of society as upper-class and lower class results in conflict and instability in society. This approach suggests a fundamental change in society way of working and elimination of the capitalist system in order to create a democratic society and distribute wealth and power fairly among society.
I agree with this approach because it clearly shows the unfairness of society and suggest a better solution for well-being of society. We are evidently observing the failure of the capitalist system in which few people take advantage of the system but the majority will be shut out of politics and the economy. Society is being ruled by few people who serve their own interest. We should also note that this will lead to many social problems including crime, violence, and segregation.
The limitation of the social conflict approach is it assumes that all the working class citizens are against the system but in reality, there are many lower-class citizens who have accepted their subordination.

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Kinley Bunting
12/6/2011 08:17:01

1. The Structural-Functionalist approach uses the Pluralist Model which, states that power is wide spread throughout U.S. society and that organizations gain support from the people to safe guard against one organization from controlling the politicians.

2. I agree that organizations gain public support from the people but I do not agree that it keeps one organization from controlling the political decisions. I believe that in the end most companies are owned by a select few parent companies so in the end there are only a few true organizations gaining the support of the people. Also certain industries will have greater leverage based on their economic power. Big oil companies for example have vast amounts of wealth and can easily influence lawmakers to pass legislation favorable to them through campaign contributions, also banker on Wall Street as well can influence policy makers through similar tactics.

3. The limitations of the approach is that it assumes that the organizations with the most public support don’t work with each other for mutual gain and that they truly care about the mass public and not their own bottom line.

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Hawanya Jones
12/6/2011 10:30:43

The Social-conflict approach perceive the distribution to U.S. power in society as the wealthy vs. the poor. And that the more powerful groups use their power in order to exploit the groups with less power. For examples workers and owners, the owners are exploiting their workers. I believe political power is the result of economic power in society. For instance education, legal and families systems is designed to benefit the owners not to help the poor. Economic exploitation leads directly to political oppression, as owners make use of their economic power to gain control of the state and turn it into a servant of bourgeois economic interests. I agree with this approach simply because it shows us just how the less fortune people in society is treated by the wealthy.And how little is being done about it. The limitations is that the power of the wealthy is still a critical element of social existence and as a result of their positions they still exert power over the poor.

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Wendy Maxwell
12/6/2011 11:58:41

1. The social conflict approach perceives the distribution of U.S. power in society as a "food chain" with the US Gov't and big corporations at the top, "feeding on" and overpowering the poor. Only the elite hold the power and the wealth and they use it to control the poor.

2. I both do and don't agree with this theory; it's true that there is a "power trip" going on where the powerfully elite hold much of the wealth and power over the poor, but I do not believe there is any one group holding all of the power.

3. The limitations of this approach are: if you believe that the "Power Elite" are controlling all of the wealth and power, then what use is it to try to distribute the wealth among the power? Wouldn't the power elite simply 'swoop in' and take it back, by force if necessary?

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Chun Yung
12/6/2011 12:15:34

1.I will choose the social conflict approach. It is because the distribution in the United States is unfair. The government, big companies, corporations, and military own the main power of the society. As a result, rich people can get richer, and poor people become poorer. Poor people just work for their lives, and they cannot have other money for enjoying their lives.
2.I agree will this approach. It is because the government will care about the poor people or people in lower class. Although the government controls a lot of power in the U.S., they also want to help people live in a balance society. It is a good thing to let groups with best management to control the main power of the society.
3.The limitation of this approach is poor or lower class people are hard to against this approach. If they get treated imbalance, it is hard for them to have a way to talk about their problem.

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Stephon
12/6/2011 13:12:11

1.The Social Conflict theory places the US Government military and corporations at the top. They make all the policies and decisions that control and influence the lives of everyone. Power lies in the hands of a few and little can be done to change this.
2. I agree that the power belongs to the Government and corporations, however we do have a say with our democratic government and can vote to change things for our own benefit. Without our compliance and will to be governed the power held by those higher up is essentially useless.
3. The limitations are that the wealthy control everything and are well educated and are more likely to stay in power while those who are less educated and haven't much of a support system are doomed to stay in their perpetual position and the controlled and down trotted. Also many of the lower level people are content with the rich and powerful having power as they don't have confidence in their own abilities or just don't care, as oppose to the common perception that all of the poor and average people crave change.

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Concepcion Tyler
12/6/2011 13:48:47

1. The structural-functionalists theory focuses on how countries can function with what they have or can afford. The U.S has the most power out of all the other countries. With that power, comes/includes money. It's just like when we talked about the World Bank in the last class. The U.S has the biggest share and its located in our country and we decide how much money goes to whichever country.

2. I do not agree with this approach because people can be selfish and I always have believed that the American government is selfish. If the government can choose who gets what, it's not fair because the US doesn't know personally they're struggles.

3.There are too many limitations with this. It's unfortunate that money is power and the poor countries have to wait for the riches response.

3.

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Surafel A Reta
12/6/2011 18:43:18

I am choosing social conflict theory because it resembles my understanding of society and my philosophical outlook of societal life. Social Conflict theory first appeared in Europe based on the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marx and Engels published The Communist Manifesto in 1848 which basically described society stratified among different classes and in terms of an ongoing struggle between the classes. In the United states , the same social conflict view holds true. Power is held by the few and elate members of society and that they use the media to maintain this dominance, a term described as dominant ideology in which the social elite use the media to reinforce beliefs that help them maintain the existing societal structure. For example people in the United States are persuaded by media to join the Armed forces in order fight these oversea wars which they stand to gain nothing from. Although I am very far from an actual Marxist i still believe the social conflict theory provides the most reasonable approach for understanding social problems.I think the biggest flaw of the social conflict theory is that conflict or clash is viewed as inevitable this is partly because of the materialistic philosophical outlook taken by many social conflict theorists thus limiting their ability to recognize the fact that certain members of society are simply content with the socio-economic standings they have. The fact the Social conflict theory is macro level further more contributes to this limitation .

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Jeanne Jarvis-Gibson
12/6/2011 19:33:21

The social-conflict theory would say that the US government and military have the power and are in control over all the other classes. The wealthy are powerful and exploit the poor.

I definitely agree that the government and the military have power, but I disagree that they are taking over the power and want to exploit them. I believe the government wants what is best for citizens and try to help the poor as best as they can. We, the people, also have a voice because this country is a democracy. Although our voices are sometimes unheard and brushed aside, we can still have protests, fundraisers, and anything we want to do in order to support a cause or support what we believe in. The government, however, still has the final word about policies and laws.

Limitations of this approach is that the wealthy are too wealthy and that they control everything. The poor would have no say and would not be able to speak up or have a voice. Also it is unfortunate that because of how wealthy a person is determines how powerful a person is. Power should not be based on wealth, but rather doing the right thing or wanting to make a good change.

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Rebecca O.
12/6/2011 19:56:21

1. In our economy the social cultural issue would encourage the fact that the government has control over the country. This perceives the distribution of power in our country. Structural Functionalism believes that we have enough different departments to create a democracy but in reality we don't have nearly enough. The little we have is creating a monopoly for the world we live in today. I do not agree with this approach I feel that this approach has failed us in the past and will eventually fail us in the future.

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Rodney Washington
12/6/2011 20:22:40

Both structural-functionalists and social-conflict theorists try to study and analyze social problems and issues at the macro-level. However, they both differ in their perceptions as to how nations of power are distributed with United States society.

1. The approach of a social-conflict theorists on perceiving the distribution of the United States power in society is by they thinking about what problems can occur or are occurring at the time they approach the conflict. For example, when an event such as 9/11 happens, social-conflict theorists try to how this situation will effect citizens of the affected area. Also, on how they can solve the problem.

2. I do agree with this approach because when a disaster occurs such as terrorism, something has to be done to protect devistation to other innocent people. Additionally, I also agree because it well prevent more deaths and injuries.

3. The limitations of this approach is that everything that would be done to help people will only be thought from a point of view at the macro level which cannot benefit everyone. Basically, when thinking at just a level at macro, you will miss all the details in between certain problems.

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Lisa D.
12/6/2011 20:30:49

1.The social-conflict theory pretty much states that its the wealthy vs the poor. The wealthy (the powerful) use their status in society to take advantage of the poor with no power. The ones who have all the power would be the U.S government and Military.

2. I understand that not everyone can have power or be wealthy, but I don't agree with the exploitation of the ones without power/wealth. If one is in power, they should be focused with doing what is best for their people. I don't think there is enough focus on poverty in this country.

3. The limitations are that the wealthy and powerful will remain the wealthy and powerful while the poor stay in the same situation. Not much can change when there is such a huge difference between the ruling class and the subject class.

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Gary Stevenson
12/6/2011 20:43:19

Conflict Theory assumes that those who have perpetually try to increase their wealth at the ezpense and suffering of those who have not. It is a power struggle which is most often won by the wealthy elite and lost by the common means.According to Karl marx in all stratified societies there are two major social groups a ruling class and a subject class. The ruling class derives its power from its ownership and control of the forces of production. The ruling class exploits and oppresses the subject classes. As a result there is a basic conflict of interest between the two classes. the legel and political system are instruments of the ruling class domination and serve to futher its interest.I tend to agree with the functionalism theory by analizing what specific systems are working or not working diagnosing problems and devising solutions to restore balance. Not surprisingly the limatations of the social conflict perspective is that it overlooks the stability of societies. While societies are in constant state of change much of the change is minor. Many of the broader elements of societies remain remarkably stable over time, indicating the structural functional perpectives has a great deal of merit.

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Robel Beyene
12/6/2011 21:32:42

I chose the Social-Conflict theorists approach.

1) This approach perceives it as some what of a kingdom type with an elite of people controlling most of the stuff that happens around the country. And have the money and resources and social group to get what they want when they want.

2) I kind of agree with this approach because of the way media is being controlled. for example, people started to buy hand-sanitizers after the media kept talking about the swine flu epidemic when they barely talk about how many people die from regular flu every year. Its just a way for the hand-sanitizer companies to make money over peoples fears.

3) The limitation is that almost any one can reach that level of the elite if they worked hard enough (Obama) and be able contribute or help change the distribution of power. Since this is America anybody can become a million air the next day (lottery, investment, etc...) and can miss around with the distribution of power.

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Hawaya Abby
12/6/2011 21:44:33

1. The social-conflict theory perceives the distribution to the U.S. power society as being the power-elite model. Meaning that our government is run by the “power-elite” which consist of the government, the economy and military. They’re the ones who have all the power and control the political life in the U.S. A clear example is the fact that the rich get richer, while the poor continue to struggle. The wealthy people in the U.S. have the most political influence on the government, they can afford to hire lobbyist to make sure their bills/laws are passed. Which leads to them getting richer.
2. I agree with this approach because the government do have the power as well as the wealthy, ultimately they are the ones that make the final decisions and get wealthier. The government does help the poor at times, but nowhere near how they help the rich.
3. The limitation is that the wealthy will continue to get richer and there aren’t many restrictions to stop that from happening because the gap between the two is too wide

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Aljahai Henley
12/6/2011 22:00:02

1)Structural-functionalists believe that the way things work in the U.S. is necessary. Everyone has a role to play so the rich will not work as janitors, bus drivers, etc and public servants are not gonna be walking around rich. But the rich do all the deciding whereas the average working man barely has a say.
2)I somewhat agree with this approach because if everyone is rich then who does the important roles such garbage men and so on.But the power distribution needs to be fixed because may people are being ignored.
3)It has limitations because not everyone has a say or is being noticed

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