Consensus theory

Consensus theory

Consensus theories in sociology arise from a general agreement about what is considered ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in society and a generally shared belief in the essential norms and values of that society.

Consensus theories argue that this general agreement in society is a good thing. Agreement between groups and individuals in society allow it to work effectively – for the benefit of all.

Consensus theories do not claim that everyone in society will share ALL the same beliefs and values ALL the time – but a majority WILL uphold its central beliefs and values thus providing a CONSENSUS view.


Socialisation describes the process of teaching and learning the norms and values of society – it’s the way we learn how to behave and ‘fit-in’ to society.

The process of socialisation never stops: PRIMARY socialisation takes place in our early years where parents/grandparents act as our primary AGENTS of socialisation.

SECONDARY socialisation begins when we come under the influence of the education system.

Socialisation continues throughout our lives as we adapt and ‘fit-in’ to the different circumstances of life and the subtle changes in the norms and values of society – we’re always learning how to ‘behave’ in a way that society broadly expects.

Key consensus theories

FUNCTIONALISM (sometimes called structural functionalism) read more

NEW RIGHT read more

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