Functionalism Essay

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Although functionalism is the more popular perspective, it is not flawless. There are conflicts of interest about the relations between the school and society. The main problem with functionalism is that it tends to emphasize the social needs of society over the individual’s need. Robert Merton, a critic of functionalism comments that “because many functionalisms have assumed that every social practice and institution must be understood in terms of its adaptive function for the society as a whole, they have tended to give a primary value to existing social forms.” (p. 34) This critique states that the social institutions are adapting for the society. The society is the independent factor and the social institutions are dependent upon it. …show more content…

43) However, in functionalism, the materials a student is taught in a social institution directly affects how the society will operate. With functionalism, functionalists argue that the purpose of social institutions is to effectively operate in a modern society. Conflict theorist argue that the main purpose is to establish a divide between the dominant class and the subordinate class. Marxism is a fundamental idea within the conflict theory. The fundamental idea is about the relationship between the way we think and the way we live. (p.44) Marxists strongly agree that the subordinate class is economically oppressed. Social institution only prepare them for a society that embodies the subordinate class. Likewise, the dominant class is prepared by social institutions for dominant roles in society. The economy is then unable to provide new jobs for everyone in each class. The economy keeps a clear class divide, oppressing the subordinate class. The dominant class owns the means of production while the subordinate class is the working class. Each class can be observed objectively or subjectively. The knowledge and perceptions of a class consciousness can exist in a class. However, “the development of class consciousness may be blocked by society, and progressive social change may be impeded.” (p. 47) Classes are aware of divisions and can choose to take actions against the divide. Within the division of classes comes the concept of false

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