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July 9, 2012 / C H Thompson

Competing theoretical approaches

There are several competing theoretical approaches seeking to explain the role of socialisation in the formation of culture and identity. This page examines structural approaches, while the next page examines social action approaches.

It’s important to understand how this module is assuming culture helps shape an individual’s identity. Or does a person’s identity create the culture we subscribe to?

To help you understand these last two points look at the clip below

To make sense of the Woodentop clip answer the following questions.

How do you know the Woodentops are puppets?

Do you have to see the strings in order for someone to be a puppet? Watch the next clip before coming to a definite answer.

The question is are women puppets? If so who is pulling the strings?

We can use the same principles to examine ourselves, are we puppets? If so to what? Watch the two clips below to find out.

Follow this link for more detailed information on Marxism. The approaches you’ve been discussing are known as feminist and Marxist social theories. These two social theories are seen as having a structuralist approach (the term structuralist is best understood as a ‘puppet’ approach as wider social forces limit constrain individual behaviour). Structuralist approaches see indviduals as puppets who are socialized by established social processes/forces and ideas/ideologies.

Using the puppet analogy as well as the question posed, ‘do individuals create the culture we subscribe to?’ Try thinking what an alternative or competing to view to the structuralist approach might be? Once you’ve thought of an alternative go to ‘competing theoretical perspectives part 2’.


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