Social Development Is A Process Of Structural Differentiation Which Is Shaped By Functional Adaptation. Discuss This Notion Using The Theoretical Perspective Of Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

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Spencer saw society as organic societies but must be seen in terms as individuals and their actions. Spencer like Comte categorized sociology into two branches. They are Social Statics and Social Dynamics. Social Statics: talks about society being an organism. ‘Each part in a society is specialized around a particular function and so makes it own distinctive contribution to the whole’. Thus the society can be seen as an integrated and regulatory system of interdependent parts. Social Dynamics: Spencer believed that competition was the ‘law of life’ and advocated the principle of social evolution (also known as Social Darwinism), i.e. where the biological species evolve through a constant struggle of existence and those which are best adapted to the biological condition under which they live are most likely to survive than those who are weakly or not adapted at all. Thus the term ‘survival of the fittest’ was coined. For Spencer the principle of evolution consist of two processes. They are Structural Differentiation and Functional Adaptation. Structural Differentiation: is a principle through which simple societies develop into complex ones and involves the proliferation of specialized social institutions. Functional Adaptation: this is where societies learn to adapt themselves to the functions and roles that are carried out by structural differentiation. Spencer’s theory of social development is formed around social evolution and spoke extensively of the division of labour in organism and society. “When we see that in mammal, arresting the lungs quickly brings the heart to a stand; that if the stomach fails absolutely in all other parts by-and-by cease to act; that paralysis of its limbs entails on the body at large death from want of food, or inability to escape; that loss of even such small organs as the eyes deprives the rest of a service
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