Section 2 - Characteristics of Functionalist Theory

Section 2 - Characteristics of Functionalist Theory -...

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SOCIOLOGY – SOCI 1002 Characteristics of Functionalist Theory a. Society Consists of a Number of Interdependent Parts Focuses on the functional requirements, or needs,  of a social system that must be met if the system is  to survive and on the corresponding structures that  meet these needs.  The functioning of society depends on the  operation and the coordination of these  interdependent segments. Assumes that society is a complex system (a whole  unit) whose parts work together to promote  stability. These parts are social institutions: the  economy, the government, the health care  establishment, the family, etc. b. Every Element Performs Some Function Each society has certain needs in that there are a number of activities that  must be carried out for social life to survive and develop. Each institution has a function or role to play so that society will run  smoothly. The different parts of each society contribute positively to the operation or  functioning of the system as a whole.   c. Interdependence and Equilibrium Functionalism attempts to explain the relationship of different parts of the  system to each other, and to the whole. These parts are usually work together  Page 1 of 8
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SOCIOLOGY – SOCI 1002 in an orderly manner, without great conflict. The different parts are usually  in equilibrium, or moving toward equilibrium, with consensus rather than  conflict governing the inter-relationships of the various parts.  d. Society Tends Toward Consensus A consensus is necessary for cooperation in society. It facilitates the  cooperation necessary to meet individual, group, and system needs. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) Investigated ways in which modern societies remain integrated   Applied the scientific method to the study of such moral and philosophical questions as crime suicide, integration, morality and social order.   When all the parts of society fulfill their functions, society is in abnormal state. If they do not fulfill their functions, society is in an abnormal or pathological state.   Concepts associated with Durkheim Social Facts  -  Defined by Durkheim as "every way of  acting, fixed or not, capable of exercising on the individual 
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Section 2 - Characteristics of Functionalist Theory -...

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