FUNTIONALIST THEORY AND THER MAJOR TENENTS The functionalist perspective, also called functionalism, is one of the major theoretical perspective in sociology. It has its origins in the works of Emile Durkheim, who was especially interested in how social order is possible or how society remains relatively stable .A perspective is a point of view. Major tenants are people who contributed in the theory example Herbert Spencer Talcott Parsons, Robert K. Merton. A concept is a fundamental category of existence. In contemporary philosophy there are least three prevailing ways to understand the concepts.
Including social institutions, a system of behavioral and relationship patterns, having specific roles to perform to make society. I believe the Functionalist theory best describes society. Personally I believe society can only be stable through social order. Including that part is primarily institutions of society. Amongst family, community, religion, academia, business, media, and government are all equal but, when one gains predominance tyranny always emerges.
Browne once said "sociological perspectives centre on how much freedom or control the individual had to influence society" He goes on to comment on the two main approaches "structuralism is concerned with the overall structure of society and the way social institutions act as a constraint, or limit and control individual behaviour". Structuralism offers a view of the individual being controlled by the society they live in, Marx and Durkheim are similar in that they can both be described as structuralists, however their individual ideas are somewhat different. Functionalism was developed by Emile Durkheim, he believed like Comte that sociology should be viewed as a precise science and that society should be studied objectively. Durkheim placed an enormous amount of emphasis on social facts which he saw as ways of acting, thinking or feeling that are external to individuals and have their own reality outside the lives and perceptions of individual people. This is known as the macro approach, which places a great emphasis on the structure of society and how an individual operates with that society.
Emile Durkheim is one of the most influential sociologists in the early stages of functionalism. He believed that within society there’s institutes that bind us together and make us have a collective conscience. He also that there’s a value consensus within society and people have a common set of rules which they follow, from this the organic analogy evolved. This is the comparison between the biological matters of the organs in the body playing a vital part in order for the body to survive. Likewise, society would cease to exist if it didn’t have vital institutes such as the family and education even crime and deviance to a certain extent.
“Social policy refers to a set of ideas about what should be done in a particular sphere which is normally set down in writing and usually formally adopted by the relevant decision making body, these are government policies in the need of the population”. [Scott. J, Marshall.G, 2005, p 615]. Edmund Burke (1970) once wrote that “the government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants.” A turning point for the welfare
Contrast and compare two sociological perspectives using one area of social life. This essay will compare and contrast Functionalism and Marxism. It will discuss and analyse the Functionalist and the Marxist perspectives on family. Functionalism and Marxism are two of the most influential perspectives within Sociology, and evolved in response to modernity. They are both structuralist theories, the individual is viewed with less importance than the social structure or organisation of society.
Its theories were then taken on within the work of Emile Durkheim and a lot more recently by Talcott Parsons in America 1940-50's. From as far as functionalism has gone back, from about the 1830's onwards, it has been largely based on society being a system like the human body requiring a combination of social institutions in order to function. Its theorists seek to explain the existence of social institutions in accordance to the role they perform for society and focuses on society rather than the individual in it and hence it is a structural theory. Functionalist uses positivist methodology which is currently at decline as a modern research technique. Within society the functionalists outline what they call functional prerequisites, these are what society requires in order to exist.
It focuses on how people come together to create society. It focuses on whether actions are good for the equilibrium of society, these are called functions. It also focuses on things that undermine the equilibrium, these are called dysfunctions. For example functionalist Conflict theory do not see society as whole coming together well for one purpose. It focuses on class conflict.
Giddens (2009 p.6) defined sociology as ‘‘the scientific study of human life, social groups, whole societies and the human world as such’’. He argued further about sociology by suggesting that, ‘‘it is a dazzling and compelling enterprise, as its subject matter is our own behaviour as social beings’’. Hence, it is opined that sociology is an academic tool that broadly looks at human organisms’ lives in order to explain why they act the way they do. Black (1979 p.18) defines common sense as ‘‘the style of discourse by which people understand reality in everyday life”. Sociology is in one way or another related to science and common sense but it is also in many ways distinct from the two.
There are three theoretical perspectives commonly used in Sociology. They are the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective, and the interactionist perspective. The functionalist perspective is defined in the text as a sociological approach that emphasizes the way that the parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability (Schaefer 14). It looks at how aspects of society are functional. This perspective views society as stable and well integrated; the individual as socialized to perform societal functions; and social order as maintained through cooperation and consensus (Schaefer 19).