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.
Functionalism is a macro, structuralist theory. This means they see human behaviour being shaped as an influence of social forces. It is also seen as a consensus theory, as functionalists’ argue that, individuals are socialised into a shared value to ensure conformity and social order. However, this functionalists approach is criticised by action theorists, as they argue that individuals create society through their interactions. Unlike other functionalists, Parsons argues that individuals are integrated through socialisation and social order.
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.
Madelynn Veuleman SOCI 160 Differential Association Theory Though out chapter six in the book Essentials of Sociology A Down-to-Earth Approach by James M Henslin it talks about deviance and social control. I will be taking a closer look at the differential association theory, and how it applies to my own life. Edwin Sutherland was the first to pair the term differential association to indicate that from the different groups we associate with, we learn to deviate from or conform to society’s norms. (Henslin, 2013, p.157) His theory was more complicated and detailed but summed up, the people we associate with teach us to either conform or deviate to what is acceptable in society. An example of people going in one direction verses the other is when boys and girls join a street gain, or scouts.
What is the sociological imagination? What does it mean to think sociologically? Why it is named sociological, not psychological or economic? In this essay I will answer these questions and explain the meaning of that expression using as an example two professional sociological studies as well as my own live experience. Charles Wright Mills, American sociologist who developed the concept of sociological imagination, in his book, titled simply The Sociological Imagination defines it as: ‘The quality of mind essential to grasp the interplay of man and society, of biography and history, of self and world.’ (C. Wright Mills, 1959, p2) In order to think sociologically we need to see ourselves as a part of a whole society and broaden our point of view from the closest milieu to the entire civilization.
Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of society. The functionalist theory is a based on consensual structuralism. This means that they way how society is view is on a top-down/macro scale which looks at the way how society's institutes shape how and who we are. Functionalisms main concepts consist of society having a value consensus, meritocracy, specialised roles and social cohesion. Emile Durkheim is one of the most influential sociologists in the early stages of functionalism.
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.
As stated in Giddens, sociologists who support this theory see individuals as not created by society but as the creators of society. Both the functional and conflict perspective, study society on a macro level. Unlike the micro study of society that looks to the individual, structural theory instead looks to society as a whole. Supporters of this theory view society as the creator of the individual, it is believed that the rules norms and values of society influence and govern the individuals. This essay will look at that two structural theories of functionalism and Marxists, it will compare and contrast both perspectives and identify similarities and differences in their views of on education family, as well as highlighting the strengths and a weaknesses in both perspectives.
Methods of micro sociology include symbolic interactionism, phenomenology and ethnomethodology. However there is opposing argument as macro sociologists think the opposite as although they concentrate on individuals as well they also look at families and other larger groups in society in which an individual is part of. Weber a social action theorist believes people hold meanings about the world and consciously act on the basis of meaning. He saw behaviour in terms of the meanings people action to actions and classified them into four types. Instrumentally rational action is when a goal is not desirable but an induvidual still works out the best way to reach it.
Exploring the theories, perspectives and evidence which frame social cognition, the view that people are ‘lay scientists’ acting with objectivity and rationality in interpreting their social world will be evaluated. Within the field of social psychology, attribution theory asserts a motivational basis of how people construct common sense explanations of their social world. Heider and Simmel discovered people go beyond sensory information to make explanatory inferences (as cited in Buchanan, Anand, Joffe and Thomas, 2007, pp.60-1). Heider proposed people make inferences by attributing an internal or external dimension of casualty (as cited in Buchanan et al., 2007, p.72). Knowing the locus of causality provides a foundation to construct models of cause and effect.