Discuss the structural (ist) functionalist perspective in sociology. (Your answer should focus on the strengths and weaknesses of functionalist and Marxist perspectives) __________________________________________________________________ The Functionalist perspective has contributed immensely to the structure of society and the understanding of human behaviour in society. It is a based on an analogy between social systems and organic systems and has identified numerous ways which state why social institutions are so important to maintaining order and equilibrium in society. Marxism has also made a valuable impact on the study sociology by emphasising on the nature of conflict present in society and the subsequent impact on individuals. Functionalism, also known as the consensus theory is a belief that society is a system that is interrelated, interdependent and interconnected. The various parts of society work together towards a common goal derived from value consensus to maintain social stability, social order and equilibrium. Functionalism began with Auguste Comte (1798-1857) and Herbert Spencer (1820-1903). It was further developed by Emile Durkeim and other modern sociologists such as Talcott Parsons and by R. K. Merton. Functionalists focus on factors such as functions, social order and value consensus which are achieved by the various social institutions in society. They all assist in maintaining order and equilibrium in society. A social institution may be defined as a structural system which functions to meet basic social needs by providing an ordered framework linking the individual to the larger culture. These include the family, religion and education which all have a significant role in socializing individuals and preparing them to be beneficial additions to the society. Socialization is the process by which elements of culture, norms and values are passed on from generation to generation. This process allows individual to learn and...
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