Structural Functionalism.

Structural Functionalism
By: Brittany Rose

Structural Functionalism, also known as the functionalist theory, is the view of society as an ordered system of interrelated parts, or structures, which are the social institutions that make up a society. This includes family, education, politics, and the economy. This theory draws inspiration from the thoughts of Emile Durkheim between 1858 and 1917. He worked to establish sociology as an important academic discipline, and was interested in the social factors that bond people together. He stated that people’s bonds were based on the tasks they performed, interdependence, and individual rights.
Durkheim argued that deviance is necessary in contributing social order to a society. Deviance fulfills four functions. One includes the affirmation of cultural norms and values. Punishing a person for a deviant act solidifies the idea to the society that this act is unacceptable. For example, being sent to detention for fighting reinforces the idea to students that fighting is unacceptable in school.
Deviance also helps to show society what is right and what is wrong. When a student does not attend class every day and ends up failing that course, this shows that poor attendance is not acceptable. Deviance also brings people together in a society. Responses to these acts of deviance make people feel closer together as a society. For example, when people witness animals being abused, they come together to try to save up money to help these animals. One group includes the ASPCA. These people feel a sense of grief and sorrow for these animals, making them feel united as a group working towards a greater cause. This can also promote social changes, since deviance encourages the dominant society to consider alternative norms or values. This includes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, which helped to bring rights to African Americans.
Sociologist Robert Merton also contributed to the theory of structural functionalism. He...