Structural Factors Affecting the Level Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

In the case of violence, there are no clear problems, but rather a broad range of contributing factors that impact the level of violence in American society. The broad-based, integrative approach of structural functionalism is well-suited to understanding how this broad range of factors influences violence because it examines each factor not only individually but in context with each other as well.

There are a number of preferred solutions to the social ill of violence. Norms and customs are often the target of such solutions. For example, public education programs are utilized to help convey that violence is unacceptable in society. The issue is often dealt with in terms of both prevention and intervention strategies (Eisenbraun, 2007). This flows from an approach focused on reducing the structural antecedents of violence, while allowing that there are times when violence but be addressed on an individual and specific level owing to the complex underlying causes of violence and the ramification that all violence acts stem from a unique set of circumstances.

The strengths of this perspective lie in its ability to bring together a broad range of underlying factors that contributes to a societal ill. Violence is subject to a broad range of underlying factors, so it requires a comprehensive approach such as that offered by structural functionalism. Conflict theory is inadequate to address the issue of violence because it is rules out non-conflict sources of violence. For violence committed outside of a poor-on-rich or some other societal mismatch of perpetrator-victim, there is no explanation in conflict theory. Social interactionism has some value in understanding individual acts of violence, and the complex nature of violence lends itself to the approach. However, social interactionism fails to deliver policy prescriptions because it is too acutely focused on individual acts, and inhibits sociologists from understanding the preventable, macro level causes of violence.

The primary weakness of structural functionalism as an approach in understanding violence is that it ignores some of the broader underlying social structures (racism, poverty) that can contribute to violence. It also tends to focus on broad-based explanations of violence, when some acts are fairly specific. Social interactionism, for example, can be a stronger approach for understanding specific and notably deviant acts.

Works Cited:

Ander, R.; Cook, P.; Ludwig, J.; Pollack, H. (2009). Gun violence among school-age youth in Chicago. Crime Lab. Retrieved October 15, 2010 from http://crimelab.uchicago.edu/pdf/Gun_Violence_Report.pdf

Prothrow-Smith, D. (1995). The Epidemic of Youth Violence in America: Using Public Health Prevention Strategies to Prevent Violence. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Vol. 6 (2) 95-101.

Ferguson, C.; San Miguel, C.; Hartley, R. (2009). A multivariate analysis of youth violence and aggression: The influence of family, peers, depression and media violence. Journal of Pediatrics. Vol. 155 (6). 904-908

Krahe, B. & Moller, I. (2010). Longitudinal effects of media violence on aggression and empathy among German adolescents. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. Vol. 31 (5) 401-409.

Eisenbraun, K. (2007). Violence in…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited:

Ander, R.; Cook, P.; Ludwig, J.; Pollack, H. (2009). Gun violence among school-age youth in Chicago. Crime Lab. Retrieved October 15, 2010 from http://crimelab.uchicago.edu/pdf/Gun_Violence_Report.pdf

Prothrow-Smith, D. (1995). The Epidemic of Youth Violence in America: Using Public Health Prevention Strategies to Prevent Violence. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Vol. 6 (2) 95-101.

Ferguson, C.; San Miguel, C.; Hartley, R. (2009). A multivariate analysis of youth violence and aggression: The influence of family, peers, depression and media violence. Journal of Pediatrics. Vol. 155 (6). 904-908

Krahe, B. & Moller, I. (2010). Longitudinal effects of media violence on aggression and empathy among German adolescents. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. Vol. 31 (5) 401-409.

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