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This essay is going to demonstrate the use of  sociological theory when working with service users. In this essay a discussion will take space on how community worker”s sociological imagination would help others understand the smith”s family”s situation. The essay will mainly concentrate on James situation. Admitted in the essay will be the Marxist and the functionalist perspective of inequality in society.  The structure and agency debate will be discussed. The essay will discuss the social division that has been prevented on James and will analyze the life opportunities of the person. The primary aim of this essay is to demonstrate the benefits of applying sociological imagination when supporting service users. In the end a conclusion will be resolved to see if sociological theory gives us a more honest understanding of James situation, is it to do with companionship or the person themselves. The essay will count the individual”s life situation and will add up to an answer if society is treating the individual equally or unequally. Furthermore the essay will look at if Marxist or functionalist theory gives a more honest understanding of James situation.


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Functionalists believe that society is more important than an individual. Functionalist believed in a nuclear household. Mile Durkheim perspective is you are who you are today depending on how hard you work (Jones Bradbury butler 2011). Functionalist would believe in this family as it is a nuclear family, they believe that both parents keep families stable. So linking functionalist sociological understanding of this family is, for example, James is not being much of a man for his family, he is letting people hold over his spirit, for instance, his wife should be furnished for him, which therefore she is not paying much attention to him, If he has the backing of his wife he may not feel angry and frustrated all the time, because according to Talcott parson a wife”s role is to live over their husbands stress. Functionalist would say that James needs to exercise harder to strain to take his job back or at least try to be more supportive to his household and maybe look for another line of work to assist him financially. Functionalist believes that crime changes an individual so James boss should give James another chance . Functionalist would explain the inequalities that James face that he is not being treated equally they would believe that James committed that crime because he did not have any other opportunity to help in self financially and provide for his family.So functionalist would say that James Should be given an opportunity at work to be able to prove that he has changed, so that he can have the chance to support his family, so his daughter can be given good enough education to grow up and look after her children and his son will grow up to have a good job to be able to provide for his own family. Functionalist Perspective towards the role of the support worker is the help James uphold his family as functionalist believe that family is the most important institution in society, support workers should meet the needs of James family and help them  grow  and function successfully together (Cunningham 2008).



Marxism did not trust in a capitalist economy. Marxism believed that society is inadequate. Marxist believed that families are universal.(Marx”s, Engels 1872)So linking sociological theory to  James situation, a Marxist would believe that James is being treated unequally Marxist would say the cause for his robbery is because of the frustration and anger he experienced which was caused by capitalism, Marxist would say that James is being discriminated  by other jobs and his own boss because they do not see his position. Marxist sees families as unequal he believes that it brings arguments and disagreement, (Marx”s, Engels 1872) Marxist would say that James relations with his wife is not beneficial because they may be trying to come to conclusion to help their family but are not agreeing on the same matter. Marxist would explain the inequalities James faces are that it is capitalism”s fault he is struggling financially they are just labelling him because of one offense he did and is not being given support by anyone. From a Marxist perspective a social workers and community workers act as an agent of the state (Cunningham 2008) and come in the direction of James situation because social workers and community workers would blame James for his offense, let alone hold him. a Marxist believes that social workers and community workers only work around the state of affairs and not strain to fill the individual needs to be fed a load of support to help him believe in himself. Marxist view on how a community worker should help with the James situation they should examine and run into his demands and help him try to keep in control with his anger and frustration and not be stereotyped against by Job interviews he should be granted a chance to play as all souls accept the rights to be treated equally.


Structure means how society interacts with the individual, agency means how the individual reacts with society. Structure quotes that individual choices or depending on how society influences the individual (Cunningham 2008) From a structure perspective James is being treated unequally by society the reason for him to fall into poverty is because of society not given him a chance in a job, and he is being labelled as a criminal due to a crime he did because of his financial difficulties as he must have been in a low paid job and not getting enough to provide for his family. From structure perspective would say society has not given him any support after he came out of prison to help support his family this may be the cause of anger and frustration. Structure would say that society needs to see that James does regret the crime and is willing to give his life another go to try and prove he is not criminal and is only trying to look out for his family. The way James is being treated it is bringing a big affect to his life as it may not allow him to have an ability to have confidence to try and make a change and it will not let him forget about his mistakes. Which will stop him to believe in himself and have the ability to stand up for his rights. From and agency perspective They would say James problems occurred because of his attitude towards society, Agency would say that James has free will to go out and make the effort and prove that he is not a criminal, for example, joining courses in college to try and interact with others around him, which may give him strength to feel like a man and may take a lot of stress of his back ,as he is doing something In life to prove he is not a criminal. Agency believes in free will. Also believe that individuals can make their own choices and choose their own paths.   (Cunningham 2008) so Agency would argue against structure about James being treated unequally as agency would say that it is James own fault for the reason for his status today. Agency would argue and say he had other opportunities to help himself to  get out of financial trouble example, try to get a better paid job or ask family like extended family  for support until he can provide properly for himself. Agency would also argue with structure by saying James frustration and anger is not because of the ways he is being treated is because of the way he is interacting with society, he needs to sort things out with his wife by sitting her down and speaking to her in a way that they can come to a conclusion to support their family. to have a better and non stressful life.



Social division is when and individual is divided into their own groups such as age, gender, social grade and ethnicity. Social issues are when and individual moral problems can affect them directly or indirectly.  For instance, it includes divorce, crime, civic rights, maltreatment, etc. (Braham, Janes 2002) James was socially divided within society by his social class, which is working class, this effected him as it is hard for him to obtain a well paid business to defend his family and also led him to become really angry and thwarted. James is being marked as a criminal by the upper class, for example being called a low life criminal by his foreman. This may affect James life as he may feel he is useless and can”t perform anything a real man can execute; this may precede him to not step forth in life and stand up for his rights.  James crime is going to affect him during his life time as no one will understand why he did it. People will start looking low at him and imagine he is just a waste a space, his wife is not giving much support which will impress him even more as he may feel the universe is against him. By being this socially divided from society, it may lead James to commit suicide as he may believe everything will stick better and everyone will be a lot happier without him. James chances for a decent job or serious education to obtain an adequate job are really low because of his status within society today and it will halt him from participating within society.



Sociological imagination is when an individual should take themselves away from the situation and look at the situation from a different view (C Wright mills 1959).The benefits of applying the sociological imagination when supporting individuals is to understand public issues and personal problems. Public issues are when it affects society, for instance is when an individual does not hold a job and is trying their hardest to generate one and also others around them do not have jobs either so this implies the government is not exercising hard enough to furnish occupations for people. Personal troubles are when an individual does not hold a line of work and is not exercising hard enough to generate one and others around him do have chores and are happy, This means that the person is not exercising hard enough to help themselves to deliver a fuller lifespan. When applying a sociological imagination, it gives you and understanding of how sociology focuses on how people react to social forces and conduct topics. It lets you understand why working class children don”t do as well as upper class within education. It is known that sociological imagination helps you see the sociological state of intellect. This is a method that has been employed to investigate information (C Wright mills 1959).So sociological imagination will let us see if James situation is personal or public. It helps us understand why the family is struggling financially and why enough support is not given to the family. Sociological imagination helps understand that James as when he was little may have come from a working class background, That”s why he is struggling today as he does not receive enough education to obtain an adequate job or have the cognition to defend his household. Sociological imagination lets understand what is going on inside  James mind, for instance, he is very furious and frustrated because he recalls that he is no use towards society and feels very negative about himself as he no longer feels like a substantial human being.


To close this essay looking at  James situation and arriving to an agreement it would establish that the essay will agree with Marxist perspective of the state of affairs. The essay would believe that James is being discriminated against he may hold enough knowledge to act in a secure job, simply has not got a chance to act in a good line of work because of his condition. By looking at Marxist perspective, it would demonstrate that James has not been given any financial backing to help bring home the bacon for his kin. This has directed him to grow furious and frustrated, which also ran him to perpetrate an offense. The essay will also agree with the structure perspective of the case study and would articulate that he is being labelled as a low life criminal, society is not truly serving him or supporting him to show people that he has changed and has not been given a chance to move forward and hold the power to trust in himself, This is the reason why James is not really feeling like a genuine human being. The essay would not agree with the way James is being socially divided in society as every individual should be treated equally cause if he is  not treated equally it could affect him allot and grow a barrier for James to start his life over. As well as that, this essay agrees that when applying a sociological imagination, it helps you understand if James is involved with public matters or personal matters; the essay will agree that it is a public issue as he is not being given any chances towards society to help him go on with his liveliness. It affords you a broader understanding of what is passing on in James mind about how he feels negative about himself and why he feels negative about himself. Overall, it is really society that is stopping James to capture rid of his status as a criminal. He should be granted a probability to show he has converted.




Cunningham j Cunningham s (2008). Sociology and social work. Exeter: Learning matters.

Jones p Bradbury l & boutillier l (2011). Introducing social theory. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Braham p Janes L (2002). Social Differences and Divisions. Cambridge: Blackwell.

C.wright mills (2000). The sociological imagination. New York: Oxford University.





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