Functionalism work sheet

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Functionalism work sheet

  1. 1. Functionalism What type of theory is it? Micro | Macro Structural | Action Consensus | Conflict The three main theorists are : Durkheim Marx Parsons Merton Modernist | Postmodernist Weber Oakley Society as a System (page 221) Functionalists see society as being like a biological organism (this is the organic analogy). Plot the similarities The Human Body Society SYSTEM – self-regulating systems made up of interdependent parts SYSTEM NEEDS – needs which if not met will mean that the system will not survive FUNCTIONS – all parts perform functions to ensure system survival Durkheim was concerned with how social order and value consensus could be maintained as societies changed Traditional Society Key Features: Modern Industrial Society Key Features: Values consensus and social order For Parsons the big question is ‘how is social order possible?’. In a world of self-seeking individuals how is harmonious cooperation possible? For Parsons the system has TWO mechanisms for ensuring that individuals conform to shared norms and meet the system’s needs. These are: a) b) The System’s Needs (page 222) Parsons identified four basic needs (often called the AGIL schema) 1 2 3 4 Which are the instrumental needs? Which are the expressive needs?
  2. 2. Types of Society Like Durkheim Parsons identified two types of society – traditional and modern. Each had their own distinctive features – 5 distinctive norms which Parsons called pattern variables A and B Note 3 of these norms in the grid below (page 222) Traditional Societies (Pattern Variables A) Modern Societies (Pattern Variables B) Ascription: Achievement: Particularism: Universalism: Collective Orientation: Self orientation: Social Change (PAGE 223) How do societies change from Traditional to Modern? According to Parsons for two reasons: 1 We can use a term we will use in our study of religion. Parsons argues that as societies become more complex certain institutions lose their multiple functions and instead specialise to meet just one or two needs. He called this STRUCTURAL DIFFERENTIATION. Functions performed in Traditional Societies Functions performed in Modern Societies FAMILY RELIGION 2 DYNAMIC EQUILIBRIUM As a change occurs in one part of the system it produces compensatory changes in other parts. For example: MERTON’S INTERNAL CRITIQUE OF FUNCTIONALISM (page 223) Rob Merton was a functionalist (we have already come across him in the Crime topic – he invented Strain Theory. However he was critical of 3 key assumptions of Parsons – essentially he was saying that it is stupid to just assume that society is always and necessarily a smooth-running, well-integrated system. 1 INDISPENSABILITY 2 FUNCTIONAL UNITY 3 UNIVERSAL FUNCTIONALISM Merton’s Manifest and Latent Functions (page 223) This is a bit tricky but the example of the Hopi Indians should help. In times of drought they did a rain dance to try to make it....yes rain! Manifest (intended function) of the rain dance = Latent (unintended function) of the rain dance = In other words sometimes actions have important functions that many of the people, if not all, involved in the actions are totally unaware of but which can help bind people together (integration) and ensure stability/social order
  3. 3. EXTERNAL CRITIQUES OF FUNCTIONALISM (page 224) These are biting and you must know at least 2 of them: 1 LOGICAL CRITICISMS 2 CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE CRITICISMS 3 ACTION PERSPECTIVE CRITICISMS 4 POSTMODERN CRITICISMS CONCLUSION Read the summary (p225) and ensure that all of the appropriate key terms are written on your NOAHS CAVE memory jogger sheet

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