Essay on Functionalist Theory And Its Impact On Society

725 Words Sep 8th, 2015 3 Pages
The first and most recognizable sociological theory we have discussed in class would be functionalism or to some structural functionalism. Emile Durkheim a French philosopher and sociologist is viewed as the founder of the “grand” sociological theory, though it should be noted Durkheim was heavily influenced by previous progressive social thinkers of his era such as Comte. Even so such a theory would ultimately be the most notable Macro level theoretical frame work following Karl Marx 's Conflict theory. As such Functionalism would direct its focus towards society in its totality. While recognizing that individual free will and choice were still very much at play, however a Functionalist would also be quick to point out that not every individual in a society is faced with or has access to the same choices as each other. And whether it be through some form of social stratification or what have you, though the choices is yours, the choices made available to an individual is not. This inherent social inequality that exists within society is viewed in many respects by functionalists as a constant and thus serves a function in maintaining a consensus within the society. IT is through this consensus that stability within a society is achieved. And by virtue of this any behavior that falls outside the expectation of this societal consensus is viewed as deviant. Functionalists however due not necessarily view this deviance as a problem, though it is not something that should be…

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