Organismic analogy is the basic datum of functionalism which conceptualized the society as a whole, constituting of functional parts. The functionalist attempts to explain the society in terms of the system’s needs, while at the same time it stresses on the role of structure of a society in shaping human behavior. All the facets of society need to integrate and function together as a whole in order to enhance cohesiveness and equilibrium. Talcott Parsons rigorously argued about integration – with respect to cohesive societal forces and about how structure would lead to that. Another significant school of thought is Conflict theory.
Assignment No. 1: Response Paper 1 Question 2: There are various perspectives which can be useful in building hypotheses and theories to describe different aspects of the society. The most popular theoretical perspectives are functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism. Amongst these, functionalism and conflict theory are the macro-approaches to describe a society, whereas, symbolic interationism is the micro-approach, which deals with an individual. Most of the functionalists relate the society to a living organism.
Both approaches can be said to be helpful in understanding social problems in the present times. Although the realist approach is an older school of thought compared to the constructivist approach, both approaches can be applied to deepen our knowledge of social problems across various contexts. In addition, both approaches are similar in their view that social problems are part of a complex interlocking system in society. According to realists, social problems are interrelated and are often not distinct from each other (Durkheim, 1951 ). Each social problem is also related to specific social conditions or elements such as institutions and transitions (Frank, 1925).
According to Herbert Spencer, Herbert Spencer’s idea of Structural Functionalism is viewing society as a human body. (Elwick, J. ,2003) He compared society to the human body. His idea is saying that the organs in the human body are interdependent to each other. If one of the organs of the human body dysfunctions or not working well, it will affect the other organs and influence the whole human body. Similarly, we view society as a complex system, complex system is like the human body.
Conflict theory states that “social order is based on economic interests and the use of economic power to exploit labour”. (Coakley, 2003, p.28). Feminist theory is modelled on the idea that “social order is based primarily on the values, experiences, and interests of men with power. Social life and social order is gendered and based on patriarchal ideas.” (Coakley, 2003, p.29). If we study conflict theory we can see that those who possess economic power have the majority of the control in sports and sporting events.
(Ritzer and Stepnisky, n.d.) It gives us a point of view. According to functionalism society is basically a system of different parts that interconnect together in harmony to have a state of balance and social equilibrium for the whole. It is not about the individual. Instead it is about the greater good of society. The greater good is a functioning society.
The four discussed here are structure functional, consensus and conflict, the gender problem and symbolic interaction. Structure functional theory views society as a whole, a complex system of integrated, interrelated parts working together to keep society balanced. Each section of society has a certain task to fulfill in order to meet the needs of society. Therefore, functionalists stress order and stability. If a part of society is dysfunctional the peace is disturbed and the system is weakened.
In conclusion, the four major theoretical perspectives described above can be said that structure functionalist would focus on what is common practice in a certain society and would analyze the function symbol used to interact and communicate in that society. Whereby, symbolic interaction try to determine how individuals of a certain society interpret the environment or what others have on the development of an individual self-image. Meanwhile, conflict theorist would look at the power differences between various groups of a society, where they come from and what effect they have on
Radcliff’s (1988) essay analyses four sociological theories (the symbolic interactionist theory, the exchange theory, and the functionalist and conflict theory) in terms of three Christian doctrines: the creation, the fall and redemption. In the beginning, God created human beings in His image; thus God constructed through creation and so too, we, as humans, construct meaning through social interactions (symbolic interactionism). Social structures can only be functional if they are structured within God’s plan (functionalism). Thus, our ultimate purpose is to glorify and serve God and as we do so, we are naturally drawn to seek rewards and avoid pain (exchange
According to Hans Weiler, one of the conventional assumptions that differentiate them apart is that they require different areas of knowledge. Theoretical knowledge is broad and generic, conceptual and nomothetic. Practical knowledge, on the other hand, is singular and situational. In correlation to that, the works of Karl-Otto Apel, Paul Roth and others have triggered a controversy wherein traditional scientific models and/or theories are deemed to be critically limited when it comes to social realism. It, of course, does not directly go to say that they are completely irrelevant, but rather that there is a demand for an even more all-encompassing concept of understanding alongside these particular happenings in a social scenario.