The Order Model, also called functionalism, is a major sociological perspective popularized by Emile Durkheim. It asserts that society functions through social consensus or cohesion—its members collectively decide on what is best for society and work together to achieve these goals.
This social consensus takes on either one of two...
forms: mechanical solidarity or organic solidarity. Mechanical solidarity is when members of a society engage in similar values, beliefs, and types of work. This form commonly manifests in simple, traditional societies such as agricultural or fishing villages. Organic solidarity, meanwhile, is when the members of a society maintain interdependence even as they engage in different values, beliefs and types of work. This form commonly manifests in complex, industrialized societies. Ultimately, the Order Model posits that, through social cohesion, the dominant social order is naturally stable and beneficial to all its members.
The opposing sociological perspective to the Order Model is the Conflict Model, popularized by Karl Marx and his proponents. This perspective examines society by focusing on the social conflicts that lead to racial, gendered, religious, political, and economic inequalities. It posits that the nature of society is full of tension, divisive, and ever-changing—due to the constant competition between conflicting groups. The dominant social order, therefore, is merely the ruling class’s oppressive system of ideology.
The main difference between the two models is that the Order Model defends the status quo, while the Conflict Model challenges it and encourages social change. The Order Model maintains that the dominant social order benefits all its members, while the Conflict Model asserts that this is false consciousness merely perpetuated by the ruling class.