Sociology Overview

Topics: Sociology, Scientific method, Science Pages: 4 (1460 words) Published: September 10, 2013
Functionalism is the theoretical perspective in sociology today that believes society is a whole unit made up of interrelated parts that work together. It is also known as functional analysis and structural functionalism. August Comte and Herbert Spencer first started this idea because they saw society as a living organism. They describe this idea by comparing the organs of an animal or person working together in the body like separate parts of society working as one. These “parts” will only function smoothly if they work together in harmony. Emile Durkheim furthered this idea by stating that society has many parts that are necessary to their own function within society. If all societal functions are fulfilled, society is in a “normal state”. Failing to do so results in an “abnormal” or “pathological” state. To understand this idea in relation to society, one must study the structure and function. Structure is how the parts fit together to make it whole, and the function is what each part does, and how it contributes to society. This idea is not always supported because it suggests that there is a set structure of normality in society, and to change this is causing unnatural, negative affects. It is unrealistic to believe this because change is not always unnatural or negative. Change is vital for societal growth. Example of functionalism being arguable unethical is the belief that women becoming a part of the workforce causes strain on a marriage because it creates a divide in shared ties binding a couple together. This is an offensive, small-minded and sexist belief that lacks a bigger picture and solely blames a change that is viewed as a positive, equal opportunity today. Symbolic interactionalism is the idea that symbols, or attached meanings to things, are the key to understanding how we view the world and communicate with meaning. Without symbols, our life would be uncomplicated and as sophisticated as animals. There would be no such thing as family...
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