Functionalist Theory

3002 words, 13 pages

Intro Sample...


Functionalism is one of the oldest theories, and is still used today. In functionalism society is made up of different parts, and these parts work together to keep the society stable. Functionalism relies very much on the scientific method. By relying on the scientific method, the study of sociology can be observed in the same way one would view the physical world. (McClelland)
Most of the ideas of functionalism came from Emile Durkheim. He was a French sociologist that wrote the basis for functionalist theory. Durkheim was one of the first sociologists to use the scientific method and statistical techniques in sociological research. Talcott Parson played a major part in the development of... View More »

Body Sample...

That is, those most capable or those prepared to make the greatest effort will, through a natural process of selection, to continue the organic analogy, be able to take up the most rewarding positions.

Functionalist theory views individuals as role players positioned in a hierarchy with their significance measurable only by virtue of their associations and status. Their individual contribution is to serve their own selfish ends with the resultant maximisation of general social welfare (Pierson 2001, p8).

People think that at the top there isn't much room. They tend to think of it as an Everest. My message is that there is tons of room at the top.
Margaret Thatcher

Karl Marx, another sociological structuralist believed, however, that a free market, capitalist state was unable to assure proletariat welfare since its structure secured disproportionately high welfare to the capitalist masters of industry and that labour exchange was an inadequate contractual format for delivery of welfare to the workers.

‘From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs’ was Marx maxim. He also stated that a

‘… commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties’. Marx believed that a labour contract was neither an effective form of welfare for the individual or society, nor did it recognise the need for a creative element in one’s work which differentiates a human being from a machine.

He also believed ...

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