Functionalism Functionalism пЃ¬Reigned as the dominant theoretical perspective. пЃ¬Often referred to as structural functionalism пЃ¬Two leading functionalist п‚ЎTalcott Parsons п‚ЎRobert Merton Intellectual Roots of Functionalism пЃ¬The most significant forerunners of functionalism were: пѓ�Auguste Comte пѓ�Herbert Spencer пѓ�Emile Durkheim пѓ�Max Weber Auguste Comte (1789-1857) пЃ¬ Science relies upon empirical knowledge. пЃ¬ Through his notions of social statistics and social dynamics he established a direction for social research. пЃ¬ Through social staticвЂ™s Comte maintained that units of investigation were the individual, family, society and the species. Auguste Comte (1789-1857) пЃ¬Social dynamics, which today is known as social change. пЃ¬Organic Analogy пЃ¬Described the social structure as пѓ�Elements (families) пѓ�Tissues (classes) пѓ�Organs (cities) Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) пЃ¬ Influenced by Von Baer. пЃ¬ Acknowledged the role of environmental variables in social organization пѓ� Super Organism (society) пѓ� The Organism (body) пЃ¬ Concept of differentiation is very important. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) пЃ¬Process of growth is a process of integration. пЃ¬In 1898 argued that societies change from incoherent homogeneity to definite heterogeneity. пЃ¬Premodern Societies vs. Modern Societies пЃ¬Social institutions arise from structural requirements. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) пЃ¬ His study on suicide rates was recognized for one of the most important programs of research in the last generation. пЃ¬ Theory supported by empirical data provides legitimacy. пЃ¬ Validity of a structural functioning system is needed. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) пЃ¬ His sociology maintained a focus on structural analysis rather than individual action. пЃ¬ Shared ComteвЂ™s functionalist, evolutionary and positive premises. пЃ¬ Functionalism was the idea that society is a system. пЃ¬ Interested in how societies change over time. пЃ¬ Crime and deviance serve a functional role in society. Max Weber (1864-1920) пЃ¬ He caught ParsonвЂ™s interest by his spiritual orientation. пЃ¬ Stated that Protestant ethic was responsible for rise of the spirit of capitalism. пЃ¬ His analysis marked the 1st major development in systematic discrimination. Linguistics and the Anthropoligical Tradition Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) пѓ� Saussure was a Swiss linguist who was very significant in the development of functionalism. Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) пЃ¬Distinction between Langue and Parole пѓ�Langue пѓ�Formal, grammatical system of language пѓ�Meaning of words can be altered пѓ� Ex: the word gay once meant вЂњhappyвЂќ; now it also means вЂњhomosexualвЂќ. пѓ�Parole пѓ�Actual speech such as facial expressions and body language. пЃ¬Anthropologists who influenced functionalism: пѓ� Clause Levi-Strauss пѓ�A.R. Radcliffe-Brown пѓ�Bronislaw Malinowski Claude Levi-Strauss пЃ¬ Applied structuralism more broadly to all forms of communication. пЃ¬ Major innovation was to reconceptualized social phenomena. A.R. Radcliffe-Brown пЃ¬ Organismic analogizing presents teleological implications. пЃ¬ Attempted to eliminate problems. Bronislaw Malinowski пЃ¬ Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown both committed to scientific methodology. пЃ¬ Focused attention of existing societies. Defining Functionalism пЃ¬ A macro sociological theory that examines social patterns and structures. пЃ¬ Views society as having interrelated parts. пЃ¬ Explains social change by variables such as population growth and increased technology. пЃ¬ Two basic assumptions: 1) Idea of interdependent parts 2) Consensus of values. Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) пЃ¬ One of the most prominent theorists of his time. пЃ¬ Attempted to generate a grand theory of society. Robert Merton (1910-2003) пЃ¬ Raised in South Philadelphia slum. пЃ¬ Merton was not the family name, he changed his name from Meyer R. Schkolnick. пЃ¬ Received B.A. from Temple University and doctorate from Harvard. Robert Merton (1910-2003) пЃ¬Always stressed importance of empirical research. пЃ¬Goal was to keep functional assumptions to a minimum. пЃ¬His functionalist theories are вЂњmiddlerangeвЂќ variety. пЃ¬Despite differences, Parsons and Merton are known as the leaders of the structural functionalism school of thought. Theories of the Middle Range пЃ¬Merton felt grand theories were too abstract. пЃ¬Middle range is principally used to guide empirical inquiry. пЃ¬They are functionalist theories that consist of limited sets of assumptions. пЃ¬DurkheimвЂ™s Suicide and WeberвЂ™s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism are examples. Theories of the Middle Range пЃ¬Role sets are an important element. пЃ¬For Merton, the term function does not mean the same thing as purpose. пЃ¬Merton promoted a process referred to as codification. Anomie Theory пЃ¬ пЃ¬ пЃ¬ пЃ¬ пЃ¬ Initially developed by Durkheim. The success goal in American culture leads many feelings of anomie. It is the conflict between cultural goals and availability of institutional means. Theory on the study of social deviance. Two most important elements of structures: (1) culturally defined goals (2) Institutionalized Means Merton described five types of individual adaptations 1) Conformity 2) Innovation 3) Ritualistics 4) Retreatism 5) Rebellion Manifest and Latent Functions пЃ¬ Merton came to distinguish between two usages for the word function: 1) Manifest Functions -consequences that are expected 2) Latent Functions -consequences that are not intended Dysfunctions пЃ¬A performance with disrupting consequences. пЃ¬Dysfunctional events lessen the effective equilibrium of society. пЃ¬MertonвЂ™s concept of dysfunctions is central to his argument that functionalism is not conservative. Empirical Research пЃ¬Different research methods are necessary for different empirical problems. пЃ¬Consistently drew links between theory and research. пЃ¬For Merton theorizing was always important. Neofunctionalism and Post Functionalism пЃ¬Well known neofunctionalists: пѓ�Niklas Luhmann пѓ�Anthony Giddens пѓ�Jeffrey C. Alexander Niklas Luhmann (1927-1998) пЃ¬ In 1949 received a law degree at the University of Freiburg. пЃ¬ Spent a year studying under Parsons. пЃ¬ Witnessed firsthand his countryвЂ™s defeat and concluded that modern society was not a better place to live. Niklas Luhmann (1927-1998) пЃ¬ Argued that modern world is too complex. пЃ¬ Very difficult to read his work. пЃ¬ Stressed the importance of grand theory. пЃ¬ Described general systems theory as having two important elements: 1) Distinction of the whole 2) The concept of self-referential systems Niklas Luhmann (1927-1998) пЃ¬His focus remains on the system not the individual. пЃ¬Social systems consist primarily of communication networks. пЃ¬Created a communication theory that stressed human communication as reflexive. Anthony Giddens (1938-present) пЃ¬ Few theorists have been as productive. пЃ¬ Produced 31 books and more than 200 articles. пЃ¬ Takes a postmodernist point of view. пЃ¬ Believes classical ideas must be repaired Anthony Giddens (1938-present) пЃ¬ пЃ¬ пЃ¬ пЃ¬ Referred to his approach as the theory of structuration. Views social systems as continuous flows of conduct in time and space. For years has been working in area of globalization. Three key areas of power: 1) Government 2) Economy 3) Communities of Civil Society Jeffrey C. Alexander and Neil Smelser пЃ¬ Alexander is credited with coining term neofunctionalism. пЃ¬ Views neofunctionalism as part of the evolutionary growth. пЃ¬ Smelser is considered a top level theorist in neofunctionalism. пЃ¬ Believes people seek to avoid experience of ambivalence. пЃ¬ Ambivalence refers to such phenomena as death and seperation. Relevancy пЃ¬ Every sociologist is a functionalist because sociology IS functionalism. пЃ¬ Functionalism fails to explain social change. пЃ¬ Functionalism fails to explain most important terms: 1) Structure 2) Function 3) Social system пЃ¬ Safe to say functionalists approach will remain around for many years to come.