Discuss the Strengths and Weaknesses of Functionalist Explanations as Applied to the Study of Contemporary Society. Support Your Response with Details and Examples from Studies Conducted in the Caribbean on Stratification.

Topics: Sociology, Social stratification, Social structure Pages: 4 (1317 words) Published: April 15, 2012
Question 1: Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of functionalist explanations as applied to the study of contemporary society. Support your response with details and examples from studies conducted in the Caribbean on stratification.

Functionalism is a consensus perspective that sees society as based on shared values into which members are socialized. It sees society as like an organism, each part performing functions to maintain the system as a whole. For example, religion, the education system and the family perform socialization functions. The functionalist theory though developed from the ideas of theorists such as Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim, can trace its origins as far back as the founding father of sociology, Auguste Comte. Stratification refers to the system where society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy of classes (upper, middle and lower class) based on a criterion or a combination such as religion, color, race, age, sex, wealth, occupation, and education. It represents the structured inequality characterized by groups of people with differential access to the rewards of society because of their relative position in the social hierarchy. The functionalist theory has much strength as well as weaknesses. One of the strengths of Functionalism is that it asserts that there are purposes for social conditions or facts. For example, under a functionalist point of view the janitor and the sewer worker all contribute to the function of the entire unit. Without serving these purposes, the social structure would not function properly. Functionalists are of the assumption that the needs of society are greater than the needs of individuals: in order words, the good of society is greater than the good of the individual thus contributing to the maintenance of society. Davis and Moore argue that all societies need some mechanism for insuring effective role allocation and performance. This mechanism is social stratification which they see as a...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Strengths and Weaknesses of the Functionalist View on Society Essay
  • Caribbean Studies Essay
  • Discuss the Structural (Ist) Functionalist Perspective in Sociology. (Your Answer Should Focus on the Strengths and Weaknesses of...
  • Assess the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Functionalist Approach to Society Essay
  • Discuss the Strengths and Weaknesses of Any 5 of the Following Approaches to the Study of Politics. Essay
  • Caribbean Studies
  • Essay about Caribbean Studies

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free