- OER Text materialTheoretical Perspectives on CultureChapter 3, subsection 3.4. According to functionalists, societies need culture to exist. Cultural norms function to support the fluid operation of society, and cultural values guide people in making choices. In addition, culture exists to meet its members’ basic needs. Conflict theorists view social structure as inherently unequal, based on power differentials related to issues like class, gender, race, and age. For a conflict theorist, culture is seen as reinforcing issues of "privilege" for certain groups based upon race, sex, class, etc. Symbolic interactionism is mostly concerned with the face-to-face interactions between members of society. Interactionists see culture as being created and maintained by the ways people interact and in how individuals interpret each other’s actions.
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