Structural Functionalism - Structural Functionalism...

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Structural Functionalism Introduction and Historical Overview A) What is Structural Functionalism?oDeveloped in the United States Developed in the early 20thCentury oIt is concerned with analyzing the structures of society as well as the functions of these structures oLooks at social institutions and looks at the inter-dependence of the social institutions and how they contribute to the order and maintenance of society B) The Emergence of Structural Functionalismo1) The influence of Emile Durkheim… D was not a functionalist Social orderOrganic solidarity (inter-dependence)o2) The Work of Key TheoristsTalcott Parsons and Robert K. MertonKinsley Davis and Wilbert Moore (1940’s and 50’s)C) The Dominance of Structural Functionalismo1940’s and 50’s it was the dominant theoryo1950’s was a conservative decade D) The Decline of Structural Functionalism o1) Mounting Criticisms in the 1960’sRadical decade, growing social conflicts (sexism, racism, war)Social movements came about (feminist, civil rights, peace)Social change1970’s most sociologists moved beyond functionalism Largely a historical significanceBiographical Sketch of Parsons: born in Colorado B) University EducationoGraduated from Amherst College, Mass (1924)oStarted Ph.D. at University of Heidelberg, Germany (1925)oHe was very interested in Weber’s workC) Marriage and FamilyoMarried Helen Walker in 1927D) University CareeroBecame professor at Harvard University (1927)oPublished English translation of the Protestant Ethic and the spirit of capitalism (1930)’oPublished the structure of social action in 1939oBecame chair of department of sociology at Harvard in 1944oPublished the Social System in 1951 MAJOR IDEAS ABOUT STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISME) Later Life and Death
oRetired from Harvard in 1973oDied in Munich, Germany in 1979 at 76The Theoretical Ideas of Parsons:A) Theoretical Approacho1) Grand theoryCoined by C. Wright Mills (sarcastic man, to Parsons work)It has three characteristics: its elaborateand abstractand macro levelUniversal application, it is applicable to every society o2) Theory and ResearchHe was interested in developing a broad general theory of society Other sociologists would take the broad general theory of society and apply it to a specific society or a number of specific societies He has a theory of deduction: begins with theoretical ideas we create hypotheses about how we think those ideas will apply in the real world,then we go out there and we do some empirical observations B) The AGIL Scheme o

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