please correct me.. based on my ignorance with only 1 sociology class.
was it my imagination, but were there mainly 3 paradigms: (1) functional, (2) conflict, (3) forgot-the-name.
granted this was well over 10 years ago, so my memory is bad, but basically it seemed like the explanations within the conflict paradigm were almost always self-evident. The process was very simple. (1) identify the effect... ie: there is a difference in societal structures and (2) assume this must be do to some conflict or injustice (hence the name of the paradigm). Under this paradigm it invariably seems like the causes will always be related to the larger group doing something subversive/antagonistic against the less powerful group.
what is taboo is to entertain the possibility that there are certain values within the group that also provide equivalent effects as the inter-group conflicts. I hated the fact they always had little astericks and sidenotes for jews, asians, and other immigrant groups.