Postmodernism, symbolic interactionism, conflict, and functionalism are the four main sociological perspectives. Functionalists assert that society is composed of interconnected components that collaborate to maintain stability, which can be threatened by dysfunctional conduct or institutions.
Thus, culture can be conceptualized as one of the components that contribute to maintaining societal stability. Furthermore, appeal to cultural values and beliefs is one of the approaches usually deployed in quelling potential dissent or threats to stability. Thus, from the functionalist perspective, culture is one element that facilitates stability in society.
The conflict perspective asserts that social inequality is an inherent attribute of society where social life comprises a constant struggle for scarce resources. Additionally, social arrangements are designed to benefit some at others’ expense. Therefore, it is arguable that culture is a tool that perpetuates social inequality and contributes to the development of social arrangements that benefit some to others’ detriment.
For example, patriarchy and subjugation of women in most societies worldwide have persisted owing to the power of cultural values and beliefs that degrade women and relegate them to second-class status. Therefore, from a conflict perspective, culture can be deemed a sponsor of social inequality and disparities.