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Strengths and Weaknesses of the Functionalist View on Society Sample

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    Functionalism is a consensus position. whereby society is based on shared values and norms into which members are socialised. For functionalists. society is seen as a system of societal establishments such as the economic system. faith and the household all of which perform socialization maps.

    A strength of the functionalist theory is that it a macro degree structural theory which uses an organic analogy- utilizing the organic structure as a manner to depict the different parts within society. Parsons identifies three similarities ; System. System Needs and Functions. The System being beings such as the human organic structure. and society which fit together in fixed ways. For illustration in the organic structure. organ cells. in society the parts are establishments and single functions. The system needs intending merely as beings have demands such as nutrition ; society has demands which need to be met in order to last. and in conclusion. maps. Functions involve the part something makes to run into the systems needs ; so as the circulatory system of the organic structure carries foods and O to the tissues. the economic system helps keep the societal system by run intoing the demands for nutrient and shelter.

    An illustration utilizing this analogy would be the encephalon would be the political relations and the household the bosom. This analysis clearly looks at the whole of society ; all while doing it easier to understand sociologically and visually shows how all the different maps of society nexus and work together. However. the fact that it is a macro degree theory can besides be interpreted as a disadvantage. It does non look at persons or little groups within society and therefore may lose differing factors which contribute to the workings of society. Marxists will besides knock the functionalist attack by stating instead than society being a harmonious whole. it is infect based on development and divided into categories with unequal power.

    Bing a consensus theory. functionalism sees society as based on a basic consensus among its members about values. ends and regulations ; in other words a shared civilization. This shared civilization provides a model leting persons to co operate by making things such as specifying their ends they should prosecute and puting down regulations about how they should act. One functionalist. Parsons. calls this understanding value consensus- the gum that holds society together. Value consensus makes societal order possible. with Parsons indentifying that the system has two mechanisms for guaranting persons conform to the shared norms. therefore run intoing the systems needs ; Socialisation and Social control. The system can guarantee its demands are met by learning persons to desire to make what is required of them. with positive countenances honoring conformance and negative 1s penalizing rebelliousness.

    As persons are integrated. the behavior of each individual will be rather predictable and stable. leting cooperation. However this position can be seen as a failing. as it is slightly ‘naive’ to presume that there is consensus ; it is improbable within society we all basically believe in and work for the same thing. From an action position. Incorrect criticizes the thought of a value consensus as he criticizes the functionalists over socialized. deterministic position of the person. Wrong says that persons have no free will or pick ; they are mere marionettes whose twine are pulled by society. Due to this. the functionalists approach slightly contradicts itself as functionalism sees worlds as being shaped by society. but their attack really takes the opposite position.

    Parsons theoretical account of the societal system is like that of a edifice block. At the underside is single actions- each action we performed is governed by specific norms or values. which come in ‘clusters’ called position functions ; known as establishments. For illustration the household is an establishment made up of female parent. male parent and kid. Instutions are so grouped into sub systems- such as stores. farms. mills. which all form portion of the economic system. whose map is to run into society’s stuff demands. Within society. Parsons identifies four BASIC demands which are met by a separate bomber system. It is sometimes referred to as the AGIL strategy. These four demands are: version. end attainment. integrating and latency. The societal system meets its members’ stuff demands. ends are set and resources are allocated to accomplish them ; this map is performed by the political bomber system. through establishments such as parliament. Different parts of the system need to be integrated together in order to prosecute shared ends and the latency refers to procedures that maintain society over clip.

    The functionalist theory identifies two types of society- traditional and modern. Parsons says each type has its ain typical form of norms ( called form variables A and B ) Within each type. there are variables which fit together. Within traditional society. an individual’s position is ascribed at birth. and they are expected to set the affinities group before their ain. Opposite to this. in modern society. persons are expected to prosecute their ain single involvements. accomplishing their position through their attempts in instructions. attained through deferred satisfaction. However. it could be said the thought of modern society is a failing of the functionalist attack. Although structural distinction occurs. intending establishments have developed. each meeting different demands. there is less strong of a corporate scruples. and rapid societal alteration means old norms may be undermined. which could take to anomie.

    It was Durkheim who was concerned with the rapid societal alteration which was happening. Durkheim saw the passage to modern industrial society as a concern. Society had changed from a simple societal construction to one of a complex. specialised division of labor. Mentioning to the functionalist attack. this societal alteration is seen as a failing as Durkheim’s position of traditional society was that it was based on ‘mechanical solidarity’ based on small division of labor. A strong corporate scruples bound them tightly together. nevertheless in modern society the division of labour promotes differences between groups and weakens societal solidarity. It brings greater freedom for the individual- but this must be regulated in order to forestall the destroying of societal bonds.

    Functionalism believes that sociology is a scientific discipline ; a society made up of ‘social facts’ that can be studied scientifically to detect Torahs of cause and consequence. Functionalist theories believe that society is a reasonably cut predictable construction with which scientific cognition of how society maps can be gained. This cognition can so be used to accomplish advancement to a better society. This is a modernist theory. This attack is argued to be a failing. as a logical unfavorable judgment would be that functionalism is unscientific. For most. a theory is merely scientific if in rule it is confirmable by proving. nevertheless for functionalists this is non the instance. For illustration. they see aberrance as both dysfunctional and functional- and if aberrance is both. so the theory can non be disproved and is unscientific. However strength of Functionalism is that it asserts that there are intents for societal conditions or facts. For illustration. under a functionalist point of position the newspaper Jesus and the sewer worker all contribute to the map of the full unit- the societal construction would non work decently without these. One of the failings of this position. nevertheless. is that some could arguably asseverate that poorness serves a map in such a society. You can do this statement. but as Durkheim saw “function” . he was much more optimistic and may hold argued that poorness was more a merchandise of “anomie” than really functioning a map.

    Within the functionalist attack to society. one unfavorable judgment comes from within the attack. from Merton. Parsons assumes that everything in society is functionally indispensible in its bing signifier with all parts of society tightly integrated into a integrity. which each portion being functional for the remainder. Parsons besides assumes that everything in society performs a positive map for society as a whole. and alteration in one portion will hold a ‘knock on’ consequence on all other parts. However. Merton argues that within society there is the possibility of ‘functional alternatives’ and besides the thought of cosmopolitan functionalism is more of premises. as some things may be functional for some groups and dysfunctional for others. The thought of disfunction introduces a ignored note into functionalism. proposing that there may be a struggle of involvement. This is farther identified a failing by the struggle position. Conflict theories such as Marxists argue functionalism is a ‘conservative ideology’ which focuses on harmoniousness and stableness instead than concentrating on struggle and alteration. They argue its premises of ‘universal functionalism’ and ‘indispensability’ help warrant bing societal order as inevitable and desirable. This attack legitimates place of powerful groups who have most to lose from cardinal alterations in society.

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    Strengths and Weaknesses of the Functionalist View on Society Sample. (2017, Jul 21). Retrieved from

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