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Distinguish between functionalism and conflict theory.

One way in which functionalism and conflict theory differ is that functionalists believe that everything in a society has a purpose and that society will run smoothly as these factors play their roles, while conflict theorists see society as groups competing with one another.

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Functionalists believe that everything in society serves a purpose and that society runs smoothly as each aspect of it plays its role. Crime and corruption even play a role, as they allow for the employment of law enforcement and court officials. Functionalists believe that everything in society is essential, and if one aspect of society is removed, then the society is altered. Functionalists see society as interdependent.

Conflict theorists do not believe in the innate goodness of society; rather, they see society as groups competing with one another. Whereas a functionalist may see a school as promoting knowledge, a conflict theorist may see it as a way to condition the public to be obedient to bosses and as a way to preserve the social status quo. A functionalist may see a church as a place of belonging and moral training; a conflict theorist will see a church as a way to threaten non-believers with punishments for life's misdeeds. Conflict theorists see government as necessary in...

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