Discuss the Structural (Ist) Functionalist Perspective in Sociology. (Your Answer Should Focus on the Strengths and Weaknesses of Functionalist and Marxist Perspectives)
1206 WordsMay 12, 20135 Pages
Question: Discuss the structural (ist) functionalist perspective in sociology. (Your answer should focus on the strengths and weaknesses of functionalist and Marxist perspectives)
The Functionalist perspective has contributed immensely to the structure of society and the understanding of human behaviour in society. It is a based on an analogy between social systems and organic systems and has identified numerous ways which state why social institutions are so important to maintaining order and equilibrium in society. Marxism has also made a valuable impact on the study sociology by emphasising on the nature of conflict present in society and the subsequent impact on…show more content…
The functionalist perspective is useful for understanding social structures and institutions and how they influence behaviour. Many social issues and successes have been linked to social structures. Take for instance the family function of primary socialization which Parsons pointed out as key in society as it internalizes society’s culture in an individual as well as structures their personality. For example if a person has committed some sort of heinous crime, investigators would usually look at their family life to determine how much it would have influences the person to commit such an act.
Functionalism also portrays the link between social institutions such as the family, education and the economy. With proper socialisation from the family the individual enters the education system and subsequently would be positive addition to the workplace and by extension the economy.
However, functionalism has come under various criticisms. The Marxists state that Functionalism over emphasises consensus and the harmonious nature of society while overlooking dysfunctions such as conflicts of interests. It is also believed to be too ethnocentric as it views society from a middle class position. Critics state that functionalism is too theological meaning that parts of a system exist because of their beneficial consequences for the system as a whole. Another accusation that functionalism falls under is