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Unformatted text preview: Functionalism Functionalism Major figures in functionalism: Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton (1910-2003) Society is held together (ie maintaining social order) through consensus on common values From a functionalist perspective, disorganisation in the system leads to change because societal components must adjust to achieve stability When one part of society is not working (ie dysfunctional), it affects all the other parts and creates problems Change may be for better or worse Change for the worse - instability in the social system Eg breakdown in shared values or a social institution no longer meeting people’s needs Functionalism Functionalism Robert Merton developed functionalism further Social practices have consequences for society that are not always immediately apparent, and they are not necessarily the same as the stated purpose of a given practice Eg: the ritual of burning ghost money to the dead Stated purpose - to enable the dead to buy things in their afterlife (and presumably for the dead to protect us)...
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