‘Structure Functionalism’ Described by Radcliffe-Brown

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  • Topic: Sociology, Structural functionalism, Kinship
  • Pages : 2 (382 words )
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  • Published : February 8, 2012
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Describe how the theory of ‘Structure Functionalism’ described by Radcliffe-Brown will help you in managing your communication better. 

How does a society function? How is a society built? How do phenomena contribute to the maintenance of social structures? A.R. Radcliffe-Brown tried to seek answers to these questions. He particularly focused on the institutions of kinship and descent and suggested that, at least in tribal societies, they determined the character of family organization, politics, economy, and inter-group relations. Of course there are influences of Emile Durkheim’s work in Radcliffe-Brown’s structural functionalism. Structural-functionalism as postulated by Radcliffe-Brown views society as an entity composed of functionally interdependent institutions. Structural-functional analysis, although later viewed as reductionist, deeply influenced the development of social anthropology and continues to influence the subfields of economic and political anthropology. Radcliffe-Brown derived his concept of function from physiology. He believed that the term "function" in the social sciences meant the same process as in biology. A different way of putting this is to say that function is the contribution an element makes to the whole social system. How can the theory of structural functionalism help in communication? In mass communication one must pay due respect to a society’s norms and not disturb the current balance of structures. Mass communication has a huge power over societies and wielders of such power should be careful about what they communicate. Using planned disruption one can create some great advertising campaigns such as the 1984 Apple campaign. Also, if a piece of communication is perceived to be able to disrupt the balance of structures in society, it might garner unnecessary hostility towards that channel. Communication is primarily a power relationship between two parties. Knowing and acknowledging these structures present in society and...
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