For this exercise you should complete each of the following statements of strengths and
weaknesses. You will find a list of 15 words at the end that you should use to fill in the gaps
1.This approach shows how a part of society can work at two different
levels, both fulfilling the needs of each individual and meeting the needs of
the whole society at the same time.
2.It provides a very positive view of society.
3.Functionalists show how each of the parts of society are interdependent
each contributing to the well-being of the whole.
4.Functionalism allows us to examine the possible functions of rituals which
might otherwise appear to be purposeless.
5.It provides a useful focus on the importance of social structure and social
1.Functionalism overemphasises the harmonious nature of society.
2.It therefore tends to ignore the conflict and change stressed by Marxists.
3.Similarly, functionalism fails to recognise the importance of power and
the dominance of those who have power.
4.It takes a politically conservative position, appearing to support the status
5.Functions are assumed to exist because the institutions that provide them
exist. But an effect cannot explain a cause – therefore this explanation is
6.Interactionist sociologists have accused functionalism of being too
deterministic seeing people as programmed and controlled by the social
system, with little choice of action.