Structural Functionalism

Topics: Sociology, Functionalism, Social structure Pages: 2 (428 words) Published: June 13, 2012
Structural Fuctionalism
The Structural Functionalism looks at society as a whole with small parts that must work together to make society run smoothly. The smaller units are known as institutions, these include inequality, family, education, religion, politics, and the economy. Structural Functionalism assumes that the majority of society shares the same core values and “appropriate” forms of behavior. It looks at how constant patterns of behavior or social structures function to apply society’s values. It distinguishes between manifest and latent orders. Manifest functions are those intended and easily recognized by most members of society. An example of this would be religion or churches. Latent functions are those that are not apparent or widely recognized. An example of this is the public welfare system.

When looking at society Structural Functionalism looks at the institutions and asks how society is held together, and what each part does for society? An example of this would be Sports. Structural Functionalists would say that sports serve important functions in our society and should be fairly rewarded. A sports team is a microcosm of the broader society, where everyone learns their roles and contributes to the running of the system (winning games). People who are not as qualified or talented should not make it to the top ranks, and those who do must have the best character, discipline, and skill level of all competing athletes. Functionalists would say that sports serve the ritualistic function of keeping society bonded and people (fans and teams) in solidarity with each other. Functionalists would say that when rapid social change occurs (high school sports suddenly become commercialized), sports must make some adaptations and changes but that they will survive and remain pretty much unchanged. The best athletes deserve the money they get because they help us as a society determine who we are and establish a sense of togetherness. “Role...
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