Consensus or Functionalist Theory

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The functionalist theory is based on trust in both our political and legal systems. The theory is also known as the consensus theory, and thus explains that there is a middle ground that must be met in order for our society to remain stable. Vago (2009) explained the biological analogy of the functionalist theory. He stated that this theory can be seen as the body of an organism, in the organism there are different relationships with different functions that must be processed right in order for the body to properly function and for the organism to survive (Vago, 2009). With that, society has many different types of people; therefore, the needs of all people must be balanced and met at some point in order for everyone to be happy. However, society must be presented the reason why this group’s needs are being met. Vago (2009) outlined research by Merton (1957), which clarified the manifest function (they are the obvious ones built into our system), and latent function (these are “unintentional and often unrecognized” (Vago 2009, pp. 64). Vago (2009) outlined Van den Berghe 1967 research that named the seven tenets of the functionalist theory. The first tenet is that society must be viewed like the body of an organism with interrelated components (Vago, 2009). In that, when analyzing the issues of society, all groups and parts of it must be taken into account so that the best decisions can be made. When it’s done like that, then consensus can be met. The second tenet is “cause-and-effect relations are “multiple and reciprocal” (Vago, 2009). With that, there are multiple causes of the issues faced, and they must be analyzed, and it must be understood the effects. What is more, the outcome of a cause will in turn affect in the effect of the cause. One example that was given was the notion that increasing minimum wage affected people by giving them higher income just above the poverty line, however, because employees had to increase pay, less people...
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