Herbert Spencer

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  • Topic: Sociology, Auguste Comte, Émile Durkheim
  • Pages : 3 (1022 words )
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  • Published : July 22, 2012
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Herbert Spencer 2

Abstract
Herbert Spencer is a well known philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and political theorist. He is recognized for his part in structural functionalism and his first principles, just to name a few. He thought society was an organism much like the human body and should be studied as a whole (Ferris and Stein, 2010, p. 44). Spencer, along with Auguste Comte and Emile Durkheim were the ones that conceived the idea of functionalist theory. Spencer intertwined both sociology and biology, and coined the term “Survival of the fittest”.

Herbert Spencer 3

Herbert Spencer

In the late 1800’s Herbert Spencer stated that, “societies, like organisms, exhibit varying degrees of structural complexity, which can be measured in terms of the number of different forms of items of which the structure is composed. If a structure consists of a number of like items then each will tend toward self-sufficiency. However, if it consists of a number of disparate items, where the structure is internally differentiated, then it will display a greater degree of interdependence between parts” (Hassard, 1993, p. 17). I read Spencer’s functionalist theory and thought of our recent assignment of taking the TST test. Both Zurcher and Turner were concerned with people being more independent (Ferris and Stein, 2010, p 160). I think it can relate to this quote and the functionalist theory. The more people become detached from one another the less interaction, the more people become self-interested, and the more we go towards disharmony. We need to keep interactions within one another, have a healthy dependency, and the more we will lean toward a common good. An example would be a professor putting together six people into a group to do a school project. Everyone is brought up differently and...
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