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Category: Societal Issues

Date Submitted: 08/23/2011 02:47 PM

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Social constraints: Do people have choices?

Sociological theories explain facts and ideas about human society. These theories have brought many changes to the society, which pretty much brings liberation to members of society as well. However there are certain social constraints, which have been discussed by sociologists in terms of the limitations on human choices that we will now review. Constraint can be defined as an ability to condition an individual to conform to society

According to Functionalist such as Emile Durkheim, society has a reality of its own. Members of it are constrained by “social facts” and are also restricted by their ways of thinking, acting and feeling. He argued that beliefs and moral codes are passed on from one generation to the next and are shared by individuals who make up a society, he see’s this point as a way that has directed individuals to their behavior that forms their consciousness. Hence, it can be seen that functionalism does put constraints on human choices.

As for Marxism, Karl Marx view people as both producers and products of society, this is because they derive their own actions. The position in which people stand in society for Marxism is determined by economical factors, which has resulted in the division of labours amongst people in society. This could be seen in a hierarchy called the building analogy with an economic base and a superstructure above it. Those in the economic base are called the capitalist ruling class and they oppress those below them, such as the working class. This clearly shows that the ruling class is in control of all the economical decision-making and has left the working class with no choices of their own but to support them. Marxist argued that only with the implementation of capitalist society, then there would be equality. This shows that only the government will have more choices to decide; members of society have very little and limited choices.

In Max Weber’s theory, he...