Rational Choice Theory and Structural Functionalism: a Supplementation and Assimilation

Topics: Sociology, Rational choice theory, Social sciences Pages: 4 (1425 words) Published: December 7, 2010
Rational Choice Theory and Structural Functionalism:
A Supplementation and Assimilation

Great theories produce opposition in connection to their inconsistencies and while challengers may position the theory contra itself, followers tend to revise the theory in order to preserve it from dismissal. This usually occurs by broadening the original theory while maintaining that the revision is consistent with the theory’s original meaning. In exploring Talcott Parson’s Theory of Structural Functionalism I have been motivated by its ambiguities to revise it in such a way. I am not a proponent of Structural Functionalism and have strong ties to Rational Choice Theory. I enjoy that it is concerned with relating micro and macro levels of study rather than affirming that one is better than the other (Ritzer). I am also an atheist with no real ties to a moral code other than that dictated by societal norms (throughout this paper I will use the word society to refer to contemporary Anglo-Canadian society) and expectations, but my belief system rests in Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism. I live according to motivated self-interest and believe that all choices great and small are rational. Being raised in a household that avoided unnecessary communication at all costs compelled me to become a pragmatic and honest person in what little communication we did have. This pragmatism has consistently carried me through my interactions with others and has proven beneficial in seeking out and acting in my best interest. With this pragmatism comes an unrelenting want to avoid, deductive theory. This would explain why, in a position as a meta-theorist I feel compelled to assimilate Structural Functionalism to Rational Choice Theory.

Due to its individualism, Rational Choice Theory could be considered neoliberal ideology. However, my interpretation leads me to understand that it does not necessarily lead to an individualistic model of society as a whole. For this...
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