Info functionalism from sociology a level theory and methods 9 3-10
MODULE 2 INTRODUCING FUNCTIONALISM (Fism)
Til 1960s Fism the dom sociological theoretical perspective.
Note Matts mem jogger for Fism is COAT MISS ( soc of Sp CC).
Fists believe that socs institutions all function positively in order to maintain social order, thru teaching and
reinforcing social norms and values.
Discuss needs of the economy today (remember Fist view of Ed is TESS – tranmission of shared cul, economic roles,
social control, social selection) eg need for flexible workforce, how many jobs require qualifications, decline of
manufacturing. How have institutions adapted? Dual income family met the needs of the econ.
Looks at:1 Organic Analogy – soc works in similar way to human body, soc seen as a system where all parts work together to
form a whole. Eg family, religion..
See soc existing in state of Equilibrium or balance with its institutions functioning to maintain SO. If one institution
was to change too quickly or fail to work with the other parts would get chaos/soc breakdown (same as if heart,
liver, lungs give up). If all working soc said to be healthy – is this ever true??
2 Social Order – for soc to survive Fism assumes that soc has certain needs that need to be met, and that SO is the
Matts MJ for SO = HAW2SOC – how and why socs cohere. H for Hobbes who envisaged anarchy and theorised how
to attain order. Think of Goldings Lord of the Flies. 2 main theories of how SO reached – Compulsion (power,
domination, coercion): Cultural (thru shared norms and values ie Fism).
Fists believe that SO requires folk to cooperate and have S solidarity/unity and is given by shared norms + values (MJ
= Norm and Val the twins).
Values = those things a soc considers important and which provide guidelines for bhv
Norms = how these values become action in partic situations/circumstances.
Eg in UK heterosexual + monogamous relationships are valued which transmits to norms (+ laws) ie until recently
only heteros allowed to marry and we can only marry one person at a time!!!
Other values: privacy, personal ownership, right to life, education etc all with norms (+ corollary laws) eg private
property laws, universal ed.
3 Socialization SZ
Fists believe we learn norms + values from birth thru SZ.
SZ = life long process thru which folk learn cul (norms + values) of soc 14t
2 types: Primary SZ (mainly in F), Secondary SZ (peers, school, media..)
Fism often called Consensus theory ie soc is S system based on agreement or harmony, folk share the same norms +
values learnt thru SZ, Con needed to maintain SO. But is there Con in NI, France, Iraq??? So how is SO gained?
5 S Change
Fists see socs in equilibrium with insts functioning to maintain SO. S change (progress?) obviously occurs/desirable
and to Fists is gradual – as one part of soc changes other parts follow to restore equilibrium.
Eg Industrial Rev changed econ from agri to industrial, result – F changed from extended to nuclear by urbanZ, Ed
became compulsory to feed demand for more educated workers. Needs of econ big in Fism (as in MX).
6 Critique is highly conservative theory that ignores S conflict and is supportive of status quo.