Functionalists look at how different SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS, such as the family, education system, religion, and the criminal justice system work together (function) for the benefit of people and society as a whole. Functionalists argue that social norms develop through CONSENSUS and that norms and values represent the values of society as a whole.


  • Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) The nuclear family has two basic functions for society which are the primary socialisation of children and the stabilisation of adult personalities. The family is essential in modern society.
  • Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) One of the functions of education is to transmit norms and values to the next generation so that they feel part of the wider community and society continues. Education teaches the…


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