Functionalist Perspective

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Sociologists analyze and interpret social phenomena at different levels and from different perspectives. Sociologists study everything from specific behaviors on the micro level to generalized, big pictures on the macro level. Each palpable explanation and theoretical generalization of society and social behavior that sociologists provide, contribute to the understanding of complex behaviors we demonstrate everyday. Pioneering sociologists introduced a broad conceptualization of the fundamentals of society. These views are now the basis of which today’s theoretical perspectives are formed. (Contributors at CliffsNotes, 2016) A theoretical perspective, a set of assumptions about reality that demise the questions we ask and support the …show more content…

Functionalist Perspective According to the Functionalist Perspective, also known as functionalism, each aspect of society is interdependent and the parts its people have in it all contribute to society’s functioning as a whole. Largely based on the works of Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, and Robert Merton, functionalism states that society is a system of interconnected parts that rely on each other to maintain balance and social equilibrium. Functionalism emphasizes the interconnectedness of society by focusing on the relationships and influences present in each part of society. Terms as functional and dysfunctional are often used by sociologists focusing on functionalism. Elements are said to be functional if they contribute to social stability and dysfunctional if they break the pattern of stability. (Crossman, 2017) Functionalists are described to defend the status quo, avoid social change, and believe people cooperate to effect social order. Functionalism addresses society as a whole by standards of norms, customs, traditions, and institutions. While once criticized for failure to account for social change and ignoring systematic inequalities that naturally produce tension and conflict. The functionalist theory easily allows for specific macro-analyses of more contentious power imbalances while also permitting a

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