Structural Functionalism By Herbert Spencer And Emile Durkheim

1698 Words Oct 7th, 2014 7 Pages
Structural functionalism is made of two parts. The first comes from the word structural which refers to social structures, repetitive patterns of Z that are society wide. This could include going to school, working, eating fast food, or listening to pop music. The other part comes from the word functionalism, which is talking about whether or not the society functions or if it promotes order and stability. Overall structural functionalism addresses society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. There are two main contributors to structural functionalism: Herbert Spencer and Èmile Durkheim. Spencer was an early adopter of the term sociology. He called society a “social organism”, in reference to a human organism, meaning that society is made of separate parts, each with a different function, that work together to sustain the organism. Spencer claimed that society advances as it evolves. Accordingly, he felt that evolution should occur without interference from the government. This led to Spencer formulating the phrase “survival of the fittest” which he came up with before Darwin studied natural selection and published his work on evolution. The concept of the “survival of the fittest” is now known as social Darwinism. Èmile Durkheim also helped to coin the term structural functionalism. Durkheim is considered one of the key founders of sociology. He examined the topic of social solidarity, the collective bonds that…

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