Organizing Principles of the Functionalist Framework

Organizing Principles of the Functionalist Framework -...

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Organizing Principles of the Functionalist Framework. The initial focus of attention, as I've already noted, is the nature of institutional relationships in any society. The picture painted by Talcott Parsons (for example, "The Structure of Social Action", 1939) can serve as a useful model for our purposes here. Parsons argued that any "system of social action" (such as a society or a social institution like work, education, religion or the media) is governed by a basic and fundamental set of functional prerequisites. These can be characterised as general problems that have to be solved in order for a social system or institution to both function and maintain itself over time. These prerequisites, in ascending order of importance (that is, the most important first) are as follows: a. Adaptation. b. Goal attainment. c. Integration and d. Pattern maintenance. Once an institution exists, Parsons argues that we can group related types of institution into four basic sub-systems : a. The Economic
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