Sociological Theory

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  • Created by: kesha
  • Created on: 08-04-12 11:44

Key Points - Functionalism

Durkheim's Structure - Trad soc, modern soc, rapid change, social facts

Parsons - Society as a system (The organic analogy)
System: social institutions, individual roles  

System needs: society's members  must be socialised if society is to continue

functions: contribution it makes to meeting the systems needs and thus ensuring its survival.

Parsons: value consensus and social order
set of shared values, beliefs (value consensus) - through socialisation & social control

Parsons - parts of the social system
Norms, status roles, institutions, sub-system, social systems

Parsons - AGIL scheme:
Adaptation - meet peoples needs, goal attainment - function of political sub-system, integration - integrated together, latency - maintain society over time

Types of society - Traditional, modern (social change)

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Merton's internal critique of functionalism - Criticises 3 assumptions made by parsons. Indispensibility - there are functional alternatives to institutions. Functional unity - some parts (institutions) may only be distantly 'related' to others (functional autonomy) - independent from others. Universal functionalism - some things may also be dysfunctional for some groups of people (poor)

Manifest (intended action) Latent (unintended action)
E.g - Manifest = Hopi indian rain dance to cause rain. Latent = promote solidarity

External Critiques of Functionalism
Teleology - idea that a thing exists because of its purpose or function real exp must identify a cause before an effect.
Can never be proved/disproved 

Marx - 'Shared' values are not agreed, however imposed on society by the ruling class

Post modernism - Functionalists cannot count for the diversity and instability that exists in today's society.

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