Durkheim_Feb 28

Durkheim_Feb 28 - 1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of...

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Unformatted text preview: 1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological Theory mile Durkheim Key Points: Consider the major tenets of functionalist theory and develop them by drawing from the work of Durkheim. Compare/contrast societies exhibiting mechanical vs. organic solidarity. 2 Sociology can be defined as the science of institutions, of their genesis, and of their functioning. The Rules of Sociological Method Functionalism The analysis of social and cultural phenomena in terms of the functions they perform in a sociocultural system. Macrosociological (i.e. large-scale) perspective The development of functionalism was based on the model of the organic system found in the biological sciences. Society as an organism, with needs of its own and a drive to survive Society is conceived of as a system of interrelated parts in which no part can be understood in isolation from the whole. A change in any part is seen as leading to a certain degree of imbalance, which in turn results in changes in other parts of the system and to some extent to a reorganization of the system as a whole. Think of an airport as an example of the interrelatedness expressed within the functionalist framework. Pilots Maintenance crews Air traffic controllers Baggage handlers Ticketing and reservation personnel 3 What could cause disequilibrium of the airport system? Inclement weather Malfunctioning radar control system High volume of passengers during the holidays Strike of one category of employees Three Elements of Functionalism The general interrelatedness, or interdependence, of the systems parts The existence of a normal state of affairs, or a state of equilibrium, comparable to the normal or healthy state of an organism The way that all the parts of the system reorganize to bring things back to normal Using the airport example, how will equilibrium be restored? Personnel will work harder Overtime will be set up Additional staff will be hired Additional flights will be developed (for inclement weather) 4 In analyzing how social systems maintain and restore equilibrium, functionalists tend to use shared values , or generally accepted standards of desirability, as a central concept. Value consensus means that individuals will be morally committed to their society. Functionalism vs Conflict Theory The emphasis on shared values is the second most important feature of functionalism. As such, it contrasts directly with the other major macrosociological perspective, conflict theory. Whereas functionalism emphasizes the unity of society and what its members share, conflict theorists stress the divisions within a society and the struggles that arise out of peoples pursuits of their different material interests....
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Durkheim_Feb 28 - 1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of...

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