Essay On Functionalism

Words: 1279
Pages: 6

The dynamic ways in which we view our society continue to grow and become more individualized. However, our own reasoning behind the behaviors of others derives from either a micro or macro understanding of sociology in the form of theories. The initial discovery of functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism drastically changed our understanding of human interactions for the better; by analyzing human behavior from virtually concrete perspectives such as these, we can provide more insight concerning any actions taken by members of society. Additionally, supporting our predetermined beliefs based on common sense with a conceptual framework helps us further comprehend the world around us. One of the most prominent and sought …show more content…
It explains how society is comprised of interrelated parts that, when working together, form one harmonious unit. Comte and Spencer perceived the humanistic world as a living organism and equated all of its subsets, such as education, marriage, religion, government, and so on, to its inner components. They argued that without vital organs, a body could not function and therefore cease to exist; similarly, a society will fail to prosper if supported by dysfunctional aspects. Sociologist Emile Durkheim saw society in a manner akin to that of Comte and Spencer and therefore proposed the existence of two sociological positions: a “normal” and “abnormal” state. In optimal circumstances, society takes on a “normal” state where “all the parts of society fulfill their functions” (qtd. in Henslin). On the contrary, an “abnormal” society contains components that fail to work together cohesively. Despite the revolutionary implications of this metaphor, it received a fair amount of rebuttal from sociologists such as Robert Merton. Merton supported the idea of functionalism, but “dismissed the comparison of society to a living organism” (Henslin). He proposed that functions kept society in balance by providing beneficial reactions to maintain equilibrium. Regardless of how various sociologists perceive the working components of society, all can agree that a functioning society is a more prosperous