Functionalism: Sociology and Social Order

Topics: Sociology, Émile Durkheim, Social stratification Pages: 3 (1112 words) Published: November 21, 2012
The functionalist model of how society works has many limitations and few strengths.’’ Explain and also asses this view. By Sadhana sanba In the study of sociology, functionalist perspective is a view of society that focuses on the way various parts of society have functions and live in a ‘consensus’ that maintain the stability and social order of the whole. Functionalist model of how society works tends to focus to be an organized, stable, well integrated system , in which most members agree on basic values which is as called’ ‘value consensus’. However, functionalist theory alongside the other school of theories such as marrxism (conflict theory) and interactionism is criticized for having many limitsaitons of explaining thew social phenomenon of its working. Herbert spencer an early functionalist and later emile Durkheim compares the working of society to the organic analogy and the way a biological organisms works. Any organisms has a structure- that is , a set of inter-related components, such as head, limbs, a heart lungs and so on. Each of these parts has functions – that is a positive and need consequence for the whole system. In th3ee same way, spencer argued , a society has structure. Its inter-related parts are family, religion, values and norms, social elements and so on. Ideally,hence, each of these componenets also has a function that contributes to the overall stability of social system. However, the analogy has many .limmits. it is difficult for example to compare the way organisms grow to the way society grows and change. Is therea social equivalent to the DNA the genetic program present in every species? Does a society really have a series of complementary institution together to make the whole function smoothly to the mutual benefit of all? Although, Modern-structural-functionalism does not press the analogy between a society and an organism and has subsequently been much refined and modified, however, the functionalist view of how society...
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