What is the Meaning of Functionalism?


Functionalism (also called functional analysis) (English: Functionalism) is a paradigm in the Social Sciences, particularly in Sociology and Sociocultural Anthropology, that attempts to explain social institutions or institutionalization that are essentially established by seeking common remedies on the basis of fulfilling the deepest individual biological needs. The ways in which social institutions fulfill social needs; especially focuses on stable, stable society structure. Functionalism, along with other teachings of the approach, is the main sociological approach. Just like conflict theory and interactionism. Functionalism was first shaped by Emile Durkheim and later developed by Talcott Parsons in the last century. Also in the 20th century. Significant contributions were made to the theory by sociologists, and this approach remained popular until the 1970s, when it encountered new and critical arguments.

Functionalism deals with the structure and functioning of society. Functionalists see society as the totality of interdependent units that work together while fulfilling the requirements for its survival. People socialize in behaviors and roles that fulfill the needs of society. Functionalists say that structure is the way of behavior in society. They argue that rules and regulations help the mutually organized relations among members of society. They provide general guidance to behaviors shaped by values, norms and roles. Institutions of society such as family, economy, education, political systems are the main aspects of social structure. These institutions establish the relationship between norms or communication between roles. For example, roles that provide communication and commitment in the family institution function between spouses, mother, father and children.

The theory is based around a few key concepts. First, society is seen as a “system”, the sum of interdependent parts that tend to maintain equilibrium. Second, there are functional requirements in society that must be considered vital, such as population reproduction. Third, it is seen that institutions exist because they serve a function (Holmwood, 2005: 87).

Functionalists argue that comparisons can be made between a society and a living organism, which consists of parts (organs) or systems that work together to fulfill the function of a large body. An example of this can be seen in the emergence of the entity or in systems theory (see ing.emergence or etiology). Functional sociologists talk about the necessity of seeing different parts of society, such as family, education, religion, law, and media, as elements that constitute the function of the whole society and contribute to it. This “organic analogy” describes this affinity, a form of social system consisting of different parts of the being that make up the tightly connected organic form, and similarly different parts working together.


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