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Later on, another functionalist, Emile Durkheim advanced the arguments in functionalism through his likening of society with the body of human beings (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008). Discussion According to Ferrante & Ferrante-Wallace (2008), functionalism argues that society comprise of various parts, which play a central role in enhancing its survival. The argument of functionalism is that, just like the components of the human body depend on each other, so are the components that make up society. To functionalists, therefore, society is like a system that has various components. Each component must contribute to the wellbeing and the survival of the entire system. Functionalists identify the role played by each of the parts that make up society. Some of the components/parts of society identified by functionalists include the government, religious institutions, the economy, health institutions, the judiciary, family, and school, among others. The government provides the structures necessary for availing essential services needed by the public. For example, amenities such as schools and education are a provision of government. Religious institutions (such as church) serve to maintain morals in society and ensure that people uphold acceptable norms of behavior. Economic institutions serve the financial needs of the population while healthcare institutions provide health services to the populace. The judicial systems such as the judiciary and other law enforcement agencies ensure that people maintain law and order, and provide security. Schools teach children and impart good morals in them; this helps in making children citizens who will obey the law (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008). Functionalism sees society as basic unit used in analysis, and whose parts cannot be understood in isolation. Rather, the various parts that make up society can be easily understood in relation to how they relate to the entire system, as well as based on how they relate to each other. Thus, the contribution that the parts make to the whole is of central emphasis in functionalism. Functionalists also contend order can be regarded as the condition that dominates society. Consensus and stability reinforces this order, which means that there should not be conflict resulting from coercion. Failure to meet the functional prerequisites leads to a state of instability/disequilibrium in the entire system. In order for the system to go back to equilibrium, there has to be a state of balance in the dysfunctional parts (Delaney & Madigan, 2009). Advantages One advantage of functionalism is that it provides an understanding of the roles played by the parts of society. The arguments raised by the theory can be termed as factual since every part contributes immensely to the survival of the whole. The other advantage of functionalism is its discussion of the effects of the dysfunction of some parts of society. Based on this, societies can strive to maintain peace, order, and stability in order to avoid imbalance in the system (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008). Disadvantages or Critique Functionalism has faced criticism based on its explanation that people within a certain society tend to share common values. This may not be so since some members of society may have formed a subculture that rebels against the values of society. The theory can also be termed disadvantageous because of its explanation that social harmony in society results from social institutions. This ...Show more
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Sociology Theories Author Institution Theory 1-Functionalism Introduction The functionalism theory refers to a sociological perspective, which describes a society as comprising of different parts. These parts making up society tend to be interrelated, with each of the parts serving certain crucial purposes…
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