Structural Functionalism, Neo-Functionalism Conflict Theory & System

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Structural Functionalism, Neo-Functionalism Conflict Theory & System Theory The origin of sociology developed and took place in Europe during the early eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The factors that led to the development of sociology are industrial economy, the growth of cities, and political change. Europe was changing from agriculture to factory production. Masses of people moved to the cities in search of work. In cities people met anonymity, crowding, filth, and poverty. The Industrial Revolution challenged the traditional order and opened the door for democratic changes. Social changes undermined the traditional explanations of human existence. Several perspectives like structural functionalism attempted to explain the shift…show more content…
The main thinkers of this approach can be best represented by Talcott Parsons and Robert Merton. Talcott Parsons was a key functionalist thinker and his contributes a great deal to the structural functionalism theory. Most of his works was heavily influenced by Emile Durkheim. Parsons clearly illustrates this structural functionalism way of looking at society with his AGIL system. The AGIL system consisted of the following: 1. the adaptive function, whereby a system adapts to its environment, 2. the goal-attainment function, 3. the integrative function, and 4. latency or pattern maintenance function (Kivisto 2013:206). Within Parsons breakdown of the AGIL system, he proposed that these action systems occurs at different levels (starting with the behavioral organism and building to the cultural system). He saw these levels hierarchically, with each of the lower levels providing the impetus for the higher levels, with the higher levels controlling the lower levels. Social order was Parsons main concern and he investigated it by using his theory based on a number of assumptions. Assumptions consist of: 1) systems are interdependent 2) they tend towards equilibrium and 3) they may be either static or involved in change ( Berberoglu 2005:80). These assumptions steered him to focus mostly on order but it fail to look at the issue of change. The basic unit of Parsons' social system is the status-role complex. Actors are seen as a
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