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Intro
· Functionalism is a macro structural theory because it
focuses on the needs of the social system as a whole and
how these needs shape all the main features of society.
· It's also a consensus theory because it see's society as
based on a basic agreement.
· Lastly, it's a modernist theory and shares the goals of the
enlightenment project. Functionalists believe that we can
obtain true knowledge and this can be used to improve
society.…read more

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Talcott Parsons (1970)
· Parsons identified 3 similarities between society and biological
organisms:
System
· Organisms such as the human body are made from self-regulated
systems and are interdependent parts that fit together in a certain way. In
society these parts are the institutions, individual roles (e.g. being a
teacher is a role) etc.
System Needs
· Society has basic needs that need to be met in order to survive e.g.
socialization
Functions
· The function of any system part is the contribution it makes to meeting
the systems needs in order to ensure its survival…read more

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Talcott Parsons (1970)
· For Parsons `How is social order possible' is the central
question.
· Social order is achieved through the existence of shared culture
or a central value system
· It provides a framework that allows individuals to cooperate by
laying down rules about how they should behave and what
others may expect of them
· Social order is only possible so long as members of society
agree on these norms and values
· He calls this value consensus…read more

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Talcott Parsons (1970)
· The basic function of the value consensus is to make
social order possible.
· It does this by integrating individuals into the social
system, directing them towards meeting their systems
needs.
· This is done through socialization and social control (We'
re taught to want to do what the system requires us to do
as we're rewarded for complying or punished for
deviating)…read more

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Talcott Parsons (1970)
· Parsons believes Adaptation and Goal Attainment are
instrumental needs (the means to an end) whilst Integration
and Latency are expressive needs because they relate to
expression of emotions.
Adaptation ­ the social system meets its members material
needs (economic sub systems function)
Goal Attainment ­ society sets goals and then allocates
resources to meet them (political sub systems function)
Integration ­ All the system needs to be integrated in order to
pursue shared goals (through socialization and social control)
Latency ­ This refers to the processes that maintain society
over time e.g. the family socializing and providing tension
management…read more

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