Summarize the contributions of Émile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Karl Marx to the field of sociology. Be sure to note any theoretical differences they may have had with one another.
Émile Durkheim believed in the theory of structural functionalism in which society is made up of different parts and those parts work together to promote stability and social order. The different types of parts of society can be interpreted as social functions and there are two types of functions one being manifest and the second one being latent. Manifest is considered the intended or obvious consequence of a particular structure. Latent is unintended or unrecognized. For example, the manifest in society can be children go to school to learn but by going to school they can also socialize with other groups. School can also be an environment for children to socialize not only learn which is latent. This theory can bring problems since it sees society as fundamentally functional and stable it can be really bad at dealing with change and not being able to provide a good explanation for why change happens.
Karl Marx believed in conflict theory. He pictured society as being composed of different groups that struggle over scare resources like power, money, land, food or status. Under the umbrella of conflict theory, there is a class-conflict theory in which society haves different classes based on their relationships with the means of production. This theory goes against structural functionalism.
Max Weber’s theory focuses more on the individual function of society unlike the other two. He believes in symbolic interaction which sociology needs to focus on people’s social situations and the meaning that have attached to them. They are also interested in understanding the shared reality that people create through interactions.