Theorist

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Talcott Parsons

Functionalism sees social structure or the organization of society as more important than the individual wherein, individuals are born into society and become the prodeuct of all the social influences around them. Moreover, functionalism sees society as a system where there is a set of interconnected parts which together form a whole. There is a relationship between all the parts and agents of socialization and together they all contribute to the maintenance of society as a whole.

Talcott Parsons viewed society as a system. He understands the social system to be distinct entity; different from but interdependently with three other action systems: culture, personality and the behavioral organism. In addition, he makes explicit reference to Durkheim in his view that social systems are sui generic things in which values serve to maintain the patterned integrity of the system. He also argued that any social system has four basic functional prerequisites: adaptation, goal attainment, integration and pattern maintenance. These can be seen as problems that society must solve if it is to survive. The function of any part of the social system is understood as its contribution to meeting the functional prerequisites.

The behavioral organism is conceived as the adaptive subsystem wherein in order to survive, social systems must have degree of control over their environment. Food and shelter must be provided to meet the physical needs of members. The economy is the institution primarily concerned with this function. However, scarcity limits the total output possible from the economy. A society has limited resources and it cannot produce all goods and services that people wish to have. Therefore, the individual must make decisions in order to adapt from his environment. Because resources are always limited he needs to decide which one is more important from his basic needs. Thus, the government must set solutions addressing the problem where they choose what goods and services to produce, how should they be produced, who should get them and when they should be produced given the limited means of production.

Second, we attribute primacy of goal attainment to the personality of the individual. This refers to the need for all societies to set goals towards which social activity is directed. Procedures for establishing goals and deciding on priorities between goals are institutionalized in the form of political systems. Government also allocates resources to achieve them. In relation to our economy, because of scarcity, there is a need to allocate all economic resources available. The rapid growth of our population results to limited resources and both the individual and the government must solve these problems. Due to industrialization, agricultural lands are vanishing and there is insufficient food production. Therefore, the government’s role is to use alternatives regarding these problems and the individual must comply to attain this goal. For example, support services like DAR, DTI, DOLE, DA conducted training programs that benefits the farmers in the areas of community development, management and entrepreneurship, crop and livestock productions, etc. In return, the farmers who attend these trainings set by the departments are dedicated and motivated to work.

Thirdly, pattern maintenance is attributed to the cultural system wherein institutions that perform this function include the family, the educational system and religion. We all know that are parents shaped as an individual and as we grow they teach us from right and wrong. Proper behavior is also taught by teachers. Thus, the rules and regulation set by our parents and the school are important to the personality of the individual wherein if proper behavior or values is acquired by the individual then they will become a good citizen of a country. In Parson’s view that values of society are rooted in religion, the individual desire is limited...
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