Unit 7 P1

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Sociology is the study of society and the different social structures within it. Sociology examines the role of the individual within society; it is viewed as the scientific study of society P1: An introduction to sociological perspectives. Functionalism: According to the functionalist perspective of sociology, each aspect of society is interdependent and contributes to society's stability and functioning as a whole. For example, the government provides education for the children of the family, which in turn pays taxes on which the state depends to keep itself running. 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. If all goes well, the parts of society produce order, stability, and productivity. If all does not go well, the parts of society then must adapt to recapture a new order, stability, and productivity. For example, during a financial recession with its high rates of unemployment and inflation, social programs are trimmed or cut. Schools offer fewer programs. Families tighten their budgets. And a new social order, stability, and productivity occur. Functionalists believe that society is held together by social consensus, in which members of the society agree upon, and work together to achieve, what is best for society as a whole. Functionalism has received criticism for neglecting the negative functions of an event, such as divorce. Functionalism does not encourage people to take an active role in changing their social environment, even when such change may benefit them. Instead, functionalism sees active social change as undesirable because the various parts of society will compensate naturally for any problems that may arise. The founder of the functionalist theory is Emile Durkheim. This theory can also be known as the consensus theory; society can also
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