The Functionalist theory emphasizes the contributions (functions) that all parts of society (e.g., social institutions) make within society. This theory has contributed to sociology by providing a view “which emphasizes the way in which the parts of a society are structured to maintain stability.” (Schafer 2013, pg13)
When so many limitations of the functionalist theory are put forward it is difficult for one to submit to this theory as one of universal application. The conception of consensual norms and values presents one of the major limitations of the functionalist theory. By accepting the status quo in terms of core values, functionalist theories fail to explain how structural inequality contributes to deviance .
“As one part of a system changes, other parts have to readjust to accommodate the change that has taken place elsewhere” (Stolley). This aspect of functionalism explains why the grasshoppers are so adamant in preventing an uprising from the ants. The ants begin to realize after years and years of gathering food for the grasshoppers, that this system is not necessarily ideal for their colony. The grasshoppers sense this hesitation from the ants and quickly assert themselves to make sure the ants do not rebel. The head grasshopper makes it clear to his pack, “if we let one ant stand up to us then they all might stand up. Those puny little ants outnumber us 100-1 and if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life. Its not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line”(A Bug’s Life). Similarly, a functionalist society is inordinately dependent on maintaining the status quo to ensure the stability of the broader society.
Lipsitz uses practices of the housing market to illustrate how the diverse practices provide the privilege to white people in the current institutional arrangements. The capital resides in suburban houses has proven many white families’ economic mobility, although few white Americans recognize that segregation has historically been the guarantee of suburban real estate values. Housing policy and real estate practices, banking and finance, education, tax codes and subsidies, the behavior of the courts, and the norms of urban policing are all heavily inflected by a racialist logic or tend toward racialized consequences. Lipsitz delineates the weaknesses embedded in civil rights laws, the racial dimensions of economic restructuring and deindustrialization, and the effects of environmental racism, job discrimination and school segregation. Lipsitz describes the centrality of whiteness to American culture, and explains how the whites have used identity politics to forward their collective interests at the expense of racialized groups, including African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos.
Different areas of the private sector took control of the racial segregation. Areas such as real estate, banks, labor, and toxic waste locations have participated in some way to continue the segregation and inferiority of people of color. “African Americans and other communities of color are often victims of land-use decision making that mirrors the power arrangements of the dominant society” (Bullard 2004:269). The land-use decisions are used by the real estate industry. The real estate industry along with the bank industry have worked together in order to make it almost impossible for people of color to acquire their own homes. When individuals of color do obtain their own homes the real estate industry corrals them all into one zone. Then the banks charge homeowners in these zones high interest rates on the mortgages needed to maintain their home ownership. “Zoning is probably the most widely applied mechanism to regulate urban land use in the United States” (Bullard 2004:269). When people of color are corralled into a neighborhood the quality of the neighborhood is diminished. The
Another topic demonstrated in the book is inequality at home. For many, home symbolizes stability and physical security; for others it signifies an investment, an identity, or a crucial mark of citizenship. Yet, not every home and community offers all of these advantages, and not everyone takes the same path home. In recent years, buying a home has become more difficult as both wealth and race matter. High cost of home ownership is just one of the many reasons underlying the stratification of secure housing in a strong
Historically, “ideas of Black inferiority and White superiority have been embedded in multiple aspects of American culture, and many images and ideas in contemporary popular culture continue to devalue, marginalize, and subordinate non-White racial populations”. Racism has influenced decades of land use, housing patterns, and infrastructure development. With the creation of housing subdivisions, the white and wealthy moved to modern communities, while the non-white and poor were left to live in areas that were rundown. Today, we see that in some cases, zoning laws have fueled environmental, as well as residential, racism. In certain communities around the nation, “expulsive” zoning has pushed out residents, and allowed industries to move into communities, and pollute the land, air, and water. These zoning laws define land for residential, commercial, or industrial uses, and impose narrower land-use restrictions. In this case certain individuals are forced to leave their community, and give any property they have up to these “dirty” industries. Without more stringent enforcement mechanisms and penalties in place, this nation will continue to see this type of discrimination and environmental racism.
Functionalism looks at society in aspects of how it contributes to the steadiness/cohesion of the whole society (Anderson, Taylor, & Logio, P. 18). There are many institutions that are looked at that include the economic system, government, education, religion, health care, and family. All of which have different roles and perform different functions to ensure that society operates in a well-ordered manner. An example of this would be how family reproduces, takes care of children, exposes children to culture and heritage, supports other family members, and shares life experiences. Shared values and social stability are keys to this perspective. When this system breaks down it is because people’s needs are not being covered and shared values are deteriorating. When this occurs, it affects all parts of functionalism and the society must achieve
The Functionalist Perspective in sociology states that everyone in the society holds a position and in this position their status has a set of roles or certain behaviors that are required to perform the tasks at hand (Kornblum and Julian, 2004.) The roles consist of nurses at the medical institutions, lawyer's at international firms or just a blue collar worker at any type of factory. For the most part, each status' role is involved in an institution of some kind and is needed for the economy and society to function as a whole. "The Functionalist Perspective looks at the way major social instructions like the family, military, the health-care system, and the police and courts actually operate (Kornblum and Julian, 2004, 6.)" This basically means that for these institutions that are needed to fulfill these roles and duties for the economy, the roles and behaviors of employees need to evolve as a whole so that the institution can function (Kornblum and Julian, 2004.) For example, a nurse needs to know certain things about her job like what medicine can treat a certain
The cost of real estate in America for individuals with low income have constantly been inclining due to inflation and economic discrimination. Within the urban and suburban America, members of the African-American, Mexican and Puerto Rican communities are often heavy targets from Burroughs which are comprised of low-income housing. There is a racial fix to inflate the value within the market by cheapening specific low-income housing and later inflating the price for investment by the white population (Hymonitz, 2015). Through gentrification: capital, social status, the constructed circulation of community based wealth and status, these occurrences have a profound impact on people of color.
Functionalist theory is one of the major theoretical perspectives in sociology. It can be argued that the functionalist theory has made a significant contribution to the study of society. It originates from the work of Emile Durkheim who suggests that social order is possible and society remains stable due to the functioning of several institutions. Everything has a specific function in society and society will always function in harmony. The main institutions studied by functionalism are the family, the education system, religion and crime and deviance.
Functionalism is a theory by Durkheim that conveys that all aspects of a society serve a function and are necessary for the survival of that society. In this way, society is like an organism. If all institutions work properly it contributes to the
Moreover, Societies are held together by both consensus with values and coercion. The functionalist view is that the balance of harmony among the society is held up by societal institutions. For example, schools, church and family are seen as the most significant foundation for an adequately functional society.
Functionalism developed out of the positivist observation that 'all positive speculations owe their first origin to the occupations of practical life' (Comte, 1865, pg 11) and the boundaries of scientific knowledge can not go further than empirically observable truths and views societies as holistic systems where 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts' (Taylor et el, 1997, pg 662). Functionalist analysis draws on three assumptions essentially seeking to transform society into a theoretical system of reality. The first assumption is that there are zero independent parts operating within
The notion/necessity of a home inside a globalized economy highlights the commodification of stability, in which it has become a privilege to be able to define and enjoy the luxury of having a place to rest one's head at night. Traditional, as well as modern conceptions of land and property are utilized as a mechanism of control and exploitation as a response to the historical and social legacies that have restricted access of accumulating wealth and property for women, poor people of color, as well as any identities outside the dominant white-male narrative. This mechanism of exclusion and control is ushering the fuel of an evolved form of colonialism, in which the housing market with the help of a repressive political system constructed this concept of ethnic genocide, thus highlighting the erasure of culture by displacing communities deriving from capitalist notions of progress. Progress inside the United States is viewed through modern development, such as high-rise apartment complexes and white-owned businesses profiting off the appropriation of culture, instead of ensuring progress for communities of colors is housing security. Displacement as form of social control, in which housing economy and policies are ushering a transformation of colonialism in relation to the housing crisis, in which poor communities of color are pushed into certain regions where they can be economically exploited, as well as socially scapegoated.