Unfortunately this is not the case, because the theory calls for all individuals in society to have stability and order in their lives.
As evidenced by Ehrenreich’s investigation into the working poor, the last thing the working poor have is stability, therefore this theory is not an entirely accurate representation of our culture.
Structural-functionalism is defined as a society in which there are groups of people organized into levels that enable individuals in this society to find stability, order and meaning (Kimmel, Aronson, and Dennis 2011).
Ehrenreich shows that there are certainly levels within society, however, because of the inequalities that are present, the individuals in the working poor are unable to find stability or order because they are running a never-ending race so to speak.
Several studies have been done that show a significant increase in homicides, both in the U. and worldwide, in societies that have a large margin between the rich and the poor (Martin, Wilson, and Vasdev 2001).
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Homicides are generally the most common measure of violent crime due to the fact that statistics are reported worldwide.
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, published in 2001 by Barbara Ehrenreich, is a book in which the author goes “undercover” and investigates the lives of the working poor by living and working in similar conditions.
The book demonstrates fairly well two social paradigms, namely conflict theory (inspired by Marx and Weber) and structural-functionalism (inspired by Talcott Parsons).
It has also been shown that this inequality and social stratification can be linked to to anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and other stress-related disorders (Booth 2010).
It is because of this constantly present inequality that I believe Ehrenreich’s book most accurately represents conflict theory.