Functionalist theory

Essay by sch907872College, UndergraduateB+, September 2014

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Erika Schafer Assignment 1 Due 9/14/14

Structural Functionalism

The functionalist theory focuses on society as a system of interrelated institutions and structures that are designed to address human needs. They view society as functioning best when there is agreement about the social values and norms. The functionalist theory asserts that our lives are guided by social structures, which are relatively stable patterns of social behavior in each society. Each social structure has social functions for the operation of society as a whole. Functionalists see social structure of society as more fundamental than the individuals themselves. Functionalism sees society as a skeleton; a set of interconnected parts which together structure an entirety.

Structural Functionalism is considered to be the "framework for building theories". According to "the Real World" The origins of structural functionalism can be traced back to the roots of sociology. The functionalist theory is the oldest, and still most dominant, theory in sociology.

Thomas Hobbes, a seventeen-century philosopher, viewed humans as "self interested beings who were in constant danger of 'the war of each against all'". Many pre-twentieth-century social thinkers were in conflict with the "Hobbesian" problem of social order.

The problem of social order became principal in the minds of many social thinkers following political conflict beginning with the eighteenth century French Revolution. At the same time, the biological sciences were revealing the mysteries of bodily function and evolutionary ideas of survival that created controversy and inspired ideas from philosophers. Consequently, a number of social philosophers used the human body as a comparison to society. Philosophers came up with the idea of "Organic Analogy"; the idea that society, like the body, is a system of parts. Just like bodily health is measured by observing if all of its parts are working properly, society was also observed based on...