Functionalist sociologists believ in the notion that religion “generates an agreed set of values, which operates in such a way as to hold society together”, however, to what extent is this a reality? Functionalist sociologist Emile Durkeim saw religion as providing the ‘social cement’ necessary if society was to survive. According to Durkeim It creates stablility, identity and a collective conscience. When indiviudals share in the same religious rituals, Durkeim belives it creates a unity in the social group between the people who share these same beliefs. Durkeim also believes this offers indivudlas an identity that is tied into that of the social group.
Functionalism is a macro theory, which looks at society as a whole rather than focuses on each individual. It is a theory that concentrates on the harmony between social institutions in society that is based on a consensus view rather than a conflict view as a Marxism theory. As a comparison to society as a whole, Functionalists use an organic analogy as an example. Each organ of the human body has a different job to do and if one part became ill or diseased, the rest could be contaminated or will produce changes in other parts. Similarly the operation of any society is dependent on its social institutions as they provide vital functions which maintain harmony, stability and solidarity within a society.
Assess the contribution of Functionalism and New Right theories and research to our understanding of society today. (33 marks) Functionalism, devised by Durkheim and Parsons, is a structural theory focusing on the needs of the whole social system and how these shape society’s main features (e.g. social institutions, humans’ behavioural patterns). It is a consensus theory, seeing society as based on value consensus (agreement) between its inhabitants about their values, goals and rules. The New Right is a conservative, political perspective that shares similarities with Functionalism (e.g.
Using Material from Item A and elsewhere, asses the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households. (24 marks) Functionalist, a structuralism approach who believes our behaviour is determined by society, they believe behaviour is constrained social forces and government and the individual is made and controlled by society therefore according to this approach every individual is a product of society. Functionalist theory belongs to this approach and takes a consensus view. This is the agreement that every shares the same values and society works in harmony. Functionalist believes every institution has its own purpose in order to exist.
Emerson’s definition of God and meaning is clearly different than that of the conservative Unitarian Church from which he split (Francis 4). Following ideas from Emerson’s work, Thoreau put them into practice. He saw nature as not just an awe-inspiring force but also a way of life. Thoreau saw nature as pure because it isn’t susceptible to commercialization and industrialization. It is both a relief and an educator.
Functionalist say that society is like a living organism and all the social institutions perform specific functions in order to help society function effectively. The sociologist Durkheim says that a key feature of religion is not a belief in Gods, spirits or the supernatural, but a fundamental distinction between the scared and the profane. The sacred are things set apart and forbidden which inspire feelings of awe and wonder. By contrast, the profane are things that have no special significance, things that are ordinary and mundane. Durkheim believed that the essence of all religion could be found by studying it’s simplest form, in the simplest type of society.
Functionalists believe religion is a conservative force as it promotes social harmony, social integration and social solidarity through value consensus. It is a functional prerequisite that meets the needs of society and its individual members to ensure survival of society itself. This maintains the status quo, which then reaches social stability. The Functionalist Durkheim says that religion provides beliefs and practices that unite people and bind society together creating social solidarity. Durkheim also argued that ritual and ceremony are essential to bind society together.
* Socialisation which included the responsibility of teaching children what was the acceptable way to behave in society. * And the economic function which meant that food, shelter and financial security had to be provided for family members through working and this would be by working for the bourgeoisies. Also the government provides education for the children of the family, which in turn pays taxes on which the state depends to keep itself running. That is, the family is dependent upon the school to help children grow up to have good jobs so that they can raise and support their own families. In the process, the children become law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, who in turn support the state.
There are different views on the functionalism of the family and these views can change over time, between societies and between people in the same society. One man who expressed his functionalist view on the family was Murdock. He felt that the family was at the heart of society and that the nuclear family (mother, father and two or more children) was so useful to society it is inevitable and universal. This suggests that Murdock thought that the family was a natural part of society and happens all over the world. He felt that the family was multi-functional and could do a lot of things that needed to be done in modern day culture.
An account is given of the application of the theory and how the various structures within society functions for the good and benefit of the whole as well as a reflection on the relevance of the theory in modern society. 1. Definition of structural functionalism Structural functionalism can be defined as, "…an idea of society being likened to a holistic, integrated system, but with a much stronger emphasis on the self perpetuation of the system which implies that the social institutions, which collectively form a social structure, function to maintain the harmony of the social whole."