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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Research Paper on Structural Functionalism Perspective

Research Paper on Structural Functionalism Perspective

How important are stability, balance among societal parts and order to society and how it operates? The Structural- Functionalism Perspective is a concept in sociology that could give answer to this question. It is a theory that interprets society as a complex system which is formed by interrelated parts that work together in harmony in order to maintain the smooth functioning of the society. It views that society is based upon norms, traditions, values, customs and institutions. It also give emphasis on social order could be possible upon the harmonious relationships of social structures. 

Social structures are relatively stable patterns of behavior. Religion, sports, education, and media are examples of social structures that mold how we live our lives. Those structures give us the set of standards on how we behave. Structural- Functionalism perspective views that most of the society’s parts share the same form of values. We live in a society where there are a lot of factors that restrain our behavior. Social structures are also concerned in putting control on our behaviors in order to maintain stability in the society. For example, the educational system is seen as an important factor in social order. It is the system where values like being a good citizen are learned. It is also where individuals are taught to maximize their potentials. These learnings could contribute to the functioning of the society. Another example would be the importance of sports as a social structure. In sports, it is taught how to know about the roles that we should play in order to contribute for the good of the team (society). Important values like discipline and competence are things that can be learned through sports. Sports also teaches individuals how important is cooperation for the members in order to make the whole (team/society) function. 

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Structural-functionalism might be the oldest and most commonly used perspective in sociology but there are still few criticisms to it. First argument could be, structural-functionalism being unable to describe and explain social changes and conflicts in the society. Another criticism is that, structural-functionalism being a macro-level perspective can’t really explain how people form identities and how certain small groups interact. Structural-functionalism is also being questioned on how it views individuals as passive agents where they only do things that are expected in their roles.


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