Unemployment and Tax Reform on Our Social Term Paper

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unemployment and tax reform on our social structure including theoretical framework on functionalism, social conflict and symbolic framework and so on and so forth. The Works Cited eight sources in MLA format.


Unemployment has long been the cause of ruin of the American society as well as the global social structure. Persistence in unemployment and the related tax reforms have done much harm than have benefited the mankind on this face of earth. There have been several effects of unemployment and tax reforms on our social structure. The passages below of our research paper will look into not only these effects but will also include theoretical framework on functionalism and social conflict. Before we begin our discussion on the effects of unemployment on the social structure as well as on the effects of tax reforms, it is essential that the readers have a look at the precise yet comprehensive definition of social structure.

Defining Social Structure

The online version of Encyclopedia Britannica defines social structure in the following words:

Social structure is "the distinctive stable arrangement of institutions whereby human beings in a society interact and live together. Social structure is often treated together with the concept of social change, which deals with the forces that change the social structure and the organization of society" (Social Structure). This concept of social structure as well as social change has given birth to various theories based on sociology and human psychology as well as behavior of a society as a whole and its needs. In order to better understand the effects of unemployment on the social structure and the effects of tax reforms, let us look at the theoretical framework of the sociological theories on functionalism, social conflict and symbolic interactionism.

Theoretical Framework on Functionalism, Social Conflict and Symbolic Interactionism

The theory of functionalism dates back to the late nineteenth century and grew and flourished "under the influence of Darwinism on the biological and social sciences" (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism). Some of the renowned functionalism social theorists included Charles Darwin, Emile Durkheim and Horace Kallen. Functionalism can be understood better when looked at the way it has impacted the various disciplines (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism). "In psychology, it led to the substitution of the stream of consciousness for states of mind. In philosophy, it led to the rise of pragmatism and instrumentalism, and in logic it replaced the laws of thought with the theory of scientific method. Functionalism basically came to be seen as a means to an end. There are two major sub-schools of modern functionalism; macro-functionalism and micro-functionalism. Macro-functionalism focuses primarily on breaking down large scale systems such as societies or civilizations and making them into small scale systems, such as groups. Micro-functionalism deals mainly with the behaviors and personalities of the group" (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism). Hence the theory of functionalism when applied to the effects of unemployment and tax reforms reveals a great deal about the working of the social structure. By highlighting the behavior of the divided groups, the theorists have made various types of classifications depending on the impact of unemployment on the groups. The less privileged groups of people become violent or indulge into unproductive and highly destructive activities. Whereas the privileged lot remains exercising its powers and exploiting its financial strength thereby giving rise to social dissatisfaction among the classes of the society (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism).

However, conflict theory, another highly popular sociological theory defining social change and highlighting the working and the structure of the society concentrates on the problems of social change as well as the problems of social power. All conflict theorists are of the view that social structure in the form of social arrangements exist to support specific groups of people that form the privileged lot of the society thereby permitting them to exercise absolute control over various aspects of the human society (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism). Thus giving rise to social conflict and various social problems stemming from the unjust functioning of the society (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism). Hence based on this belief, the conflict theory views the whole society in disharmony as well as in major conflicting situation. Moreover, according to the social conflict theorists, social disintegration causing adverse social
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change occurs due to power disparities. However, the social conflict theory clearly highlights the sociological effect of unemployment by presenting its views pertaining to the individuals of the society (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism). This theory believes that due to the unjust economic and social structure, even the good people at heart become corrupt thereby committing crimes. Thus, the social conflict theory when applied on the concept as well as the common social problem of unemployment reveals a great deal about the social structure and the effect of unemployment on the social arrangements (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism). Thus, due to the power imbalances, social disintegration and negative social change unemployment results that brings about a negative change in all human beings that are the victims of unemployment and economic disparity. Hence the social structure is in practice controlled by those groups that remain in power due to their economic and financial soundness (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism). However, this theory encouraged social change as well as social conflict in the form of revolts, a belief that was not supported by many. Some of the primary social conflict theorists included Karl Marx, David Hume and Adam Ferguson (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism).

Theory of Symbolic Interaction is another theory that highlights the functioning of the humans in a society as individuals and the collective impact of various social changes including unemployment, (the biggest social issue at hand) on humans (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism). This social theory basically concentrates on the human interaction and the resultant perceptions. Hence focusing "on the processes of person to person interaction, on how people come to develop viewpoints about themselves and others, and on forms of interpersonal communication. Symbolic interaction deals with verbal and nonverbal interaction" (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism).George Herbert Mead, Charles Horton Cooley, and William James classified two kinds of human interaction namely symbolic and non-symbolic (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism). "Non-symbolic interaction occurs when people respond to each other without interpretations. With symbolic interaction individuals are allowed to think. Humans act toward things based on the meaning that things have for us. The meaning for such things arise from interactions. In James' Principles of Psychology, the relations between individuals and society were examined. He discovered that humans have a habit, or a social norm that governs how we react to situations. James believed that the state was a part of the personal consciousness and that symbolic interaction has had an influence on almost every contemporary sociologist, functionalist and conflict theorists feel as though it is a strong enough sociological concept, and that their theories enhance it" (Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism).

Effects of Unemployment on Social Structure

Social structure, the established organization of institutions through which humans interact and live in harmony together as a collective unit of individuals gets effected by various elements and social changes. One such factor is the rate of unemployment which seems to persistently rise in the past few decades thereby causing obvious changes in the functioning of the society as well as in the human behavior and the concept of social groups, classes and sub-divisions. Unemployment which is surely the bane of the American society as well as the global village seems to persistently rise despite all measures taken by the authorities involved at various levels of the social structure. The effects of unemployment have been obviously too damaging and deteriorating keeping in mind the disturbed equilibrium of the social structure that holds the human existence and remains to date the only possible foundation on which stands the entire human civilization and the society as a whole. The effects of unemployment on the social structure can easily be studied under the head of social effects of unemployment that is the effects of unemployment on the social animal called man.

Here are a good few social problems and adverse social changes in the attitudes of the humans suffering the coldness of this wintry world in the form of persistent unemployment:

Augmenting dissatisfaction among the less privileged classes of the social structure:

Due to the constant rise in the rate of unemployment, there has been a marked change in the equilibrium of the social structure that has shifted from balanced to highly unpredictably imbalanced. Persistent unemployment has caused absolute dissatisfaction among the various classes of the society thereby compelling people to behave like savages rather sophisticated beings. The rising dissatisfaction among the under privileged and financially unsound classes of our society has further aggravated the disharmony and conflicting situation as believed by the social theorists of conflict theory. Even those individuals with moral values and character have become the victims…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Social Structure." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2003. Encyclopedia Britannica Premium Service. Retrieved 10 Jul, 2003 at http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=117544.

Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism. Retrieved 10 Jul, 2003 at http://www.*****/free_essays/4/sociology/functionalism-confict-theory-and-symbolic-interaction.shtml

Social and psychological effects of unemployment. Retrieved July 10, 2003 at http://www.e-resaneh.com/English/Social/Social%20and%20Psychological%20Effects%20of%20Unemployment.html

Saunders P. Direct and indirect effects of unemployment. Paper presented at the Australian National University in the F.H. Gruen Lecture Series on Welfare and the Labor Market: The New Frontier for Reform.

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