Robert Merton's Concept Of Manifest And Latent Functions In Society
Continuing with the topic of education some latent functions would be, providing mass entertainment for students, the forming of groups, and providing an environment that may result in human coupling. A student’s main purpose for going to school is to receive an education to further their lives but by doing so they are finding their way into different social groups and may end up finding a future spouse, none of which was ever intended by the educational system.
Another example of manifest and latent functions was used by Merton himself in his 1967 “Social Theory and Social Structure”. He discussed the functions of a rain dance. The manifest function of a rain dance is to produce rain. The people participating in this dance intend rain to be the outcome. What is unintended or the latent function of this rain dance is to reinforce the group identity by providing an opportunity for the members of this group to meet up and participate in this common