Functionalist analysis

Functionalist analysis

The organic analogy also shows that it is used the body and society as a whole. However, the functionalist analysis has strengths as well as criticisms. Functionalism begins with the observation that behavior in society is structured. Social relationships are therefore patterned, and recurrent. The main parts of society, its institutions can be seen as a structure made up of interconnected roles or interrelated norms e. G. The family is made up of interconnected roles of the husband, wife, and their children.

Social relationships within the family are structured in terms of a set of related norms. Function mean effect; therefore, the function of the family is the effect it has on other parts of the social structure and on society as a whole. The contribution an institution makes to the survival of the system e. G. The major function of the family is colonization of the children, which are also the new members of the society. This is an important contribution to the maintenance of the society, since order, stability, and cooperation largely depend on learned, shared values.

Functionalist sociologists used to study the social stability. This is one of the main strength of functionalism. Sociologists can use functionalism to examine the relationship of social institutions with the wider society. This strength allows sociologists to study religious, educational, military, political, charitable organizations and assess their effects on the stability of society as a whole. Functionalism for sociologists also has the ability to find the pattern of social relations and elicit general rules from them.

Mile Druthers believed that people were constrained by social facts: ways of acting, thinking and feeling in a society. He believed that moral codes heaped individual consciousness, and social facts were caused by other social facts e. G. The influence of religion on suicide rates but could also be explained in terms of the functions they performed for the society. Society needed a collective conscience, or shared morality, in order to function successfully. Hence parts of society would only persist if they served useful functions.

According to Deuterium’s principles-progress would be towards social order, rather than towards emancipation of the individual human being. This would reestablish social integration and bring about moral consensus. All institutions will work more efficiently because the proper functioning Of one is directly linked to the proper functioning of other, as they are interdependent. Parsons identifies that social order is possible only if its members adhere to society norms and values. He argues that for this to happen, individuals have to be integrated into the social system.

Primarily, the social system has its needs and to ensure that they are met, it requires the different agencies of solicitation I. E. Media and family, to teach its individuals the systems norms ND values so that it becomes part of their personality structure. Another is the idea of social control; he argues that those who conform to the value system are rewarded. However, those who do not are stigmatize as lay about. This, therefore instills the idea of cooperation amongst individuals, making them work together to meet society needs.

Parsons furthers to explain the needs of the social system are met by different sub-system of institutions. These needs are known as the ‘GAIL schema’ (A- standing for adaptation which ensures that the material needs of society’s members are et, G- stands for goal attainment, meaning that society needs to set goals and allocate resources to achieve them, l- standing for integration, which means that all parts of the system must be integrated together to pursue shared goals and the L, refers to Latency, the process that maintains society overtime).

In the 1 9505, Robert Morton elaborated the functionalist perspective by proposing a distinction between manifest and latent functions. Manifest functions are the intended functions of an institution or a phenomenon in a social system. Latent functions are its unintended unction. Latent functions may be undesirable, but unintended consequences, or manifestly dysfunctional institutions may have latent functions that explain their persistence.

For example, crime seems difficult to explain from the functionalist perspective; it seems to play little role in maintaining social stability. From the ass’s however, functionalist theory popularity declined partly due to criticism, and partly due to competing perspectives which provided superior explanations. Functionalism has been accused Of being teleological I. E. It confuses cause and effect. The functions of an institution are the effects it has rather than the reasons why it exists. It is also seen to be a conservative ideology.

Functionalism assumes without putting forward evidence, that a value consensus exists, and it ignores conflict and diversity in society. Functionalism has been criticized for downplaying the role of individual action, and for being unable to account for social change. In the functionalist perspective, society and its institutions are the primary units of analysis. Individuals are significant only in terms of their places within social systems (I. . , social status and position in patterns of social relations).

Some critics also take issue with functionalism’s tendency to attribute needs to society. They point out that, unlike human beings, society does not have needs; society is only alive in the sense that it is made up of living individuals. By downplaying the role Of individuals, functionalism is less likely to recognize how individual actions may alter social institutions. Critics also argue that functionalism is unable to explain social change because it focuses so intently on social order and equilibrium in society.

Following functionalist logic, if a social institution exists, it must serve a function. Institutions, however, change over time; some disappear and others come into being. Also, it ignores inequalities including race, gender, class, which causes tension and conflict. Lockwood (1970) argues that functionalism ignores conflicts of interest between groups, which tend to stabilize social systems. Alexandra Markings (1979) argues that functionalism remains useful for understanding social structures and how they influence behavior, although it does have many flaws.

Conflict theories differ from functionalism is that they hold there are fundamental differences of interest between social groups. These differences result in conflict being a consistent and persistent feature of society, and not a temporary aberration. The conflict theories include Marxism, feminism, and Hibernating. Marxist argue that the modern family is organized to support and benefit the ruling class and the capitalist economy, rather than benefiting all of society. In particular, they accuse functionalists for ignoring the fact that power is not equally distributed in society.

Some groups have more wealth and power than others and the bourgeoisie may be able to impose their norms and values on the proletariat which are the less powerful groups. Feminists also criticism functionalists for ignoring male dominance that often is present in society. Furthermore, the sexual division of labor it describes is not universal, with the relative roles of women and men in modern families can be seen to be gradually changing. Hence, the functionalist theory, being an important perspective has both its strengths as well as weaknesses.

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