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Structural Functionalism, Neo-Functionalism Conflict Theory & System

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Structural Functionalism, Neo-Functionalism Conflict Theory & System

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  • April 28, 2013
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Structural Functionalism, Neo-Functionalism Conflict Theory & System Theory The origin of sociology developed and took place in Europe during the early eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The factors that led to the development of sociology are industrial economy, the growth of cities, and political change. Europe was changing from agriculture to factory production. Masses of people moved to the cities in search of work. In cities people met anonymity, crowding, filth, and poverty. The Industrial Revolution challenged the traditional order and opened the door for democratic changes. Social changes undermined the traditional explanations of human existence. Several perspectives like structural functionalism attempted to explain the shift from feudalism to industrial society. While structural functionalism emerged, other theories like neo-functionalism, conflict theory and system theory challenged the foundation of structural functionalism perspective. The structural functionalism theory was the most prevalent approach of thinking in sociology in the 1930’s and 1960s. However, it is no longer now regarded as the dominant theory. The earlier giants of structural functionalisms were Auguste Comte and Emile Durkheim and their predecessors were Kinsley Davis, Talcott Parson, and Robert Merton. Most of the ideas of structural functionalism came from Emile Durkheim. He was a French sociologist that wrote the basis for structural functionalism theory. Social functionalism perspective refers to the structures or institutions that shape a society (Kivisto 2013:197). This theory suggests that each structure has a specific function or role to play in determining the behavior of the society. A good illustration of this can be seen in the military and law enforcement structures. In order to maintain security for the members of the society, we have a military system in place to defend the members from external threat, and police system to maintain law and order of the...