FUNCTIONALISM: Major Tenets

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29 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 19 μέρες)

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FUNCTIONALISM:

Major Tenets



Society as organism



Functionally inter
-
related parts



Societal survival depends on satisfying


the needs of the system.

Social Stratification ensures the proper
distribution of social resources….


Dominant Theory in the 50’s and 60’s


Talcott Parsons:

Functional Imperatives


The basic assumptions all involve the “Hierarchy of Relations of Control.”


The basic subsystems of the total system constitute a hierarchical series of
controlling agencies over the behavior of the individual.


Father


Mother


Oldest

Youngest


Mother


Father


Oldest


Youngest


President


Provost


Dean


Chair


Professor


Associate Professor


Assistant Professor


Instructor


Student (5
th

year


4
th

year….)


Individuals act in situations that includes “others.”


Not just “any” others, but others with some specific set of ordered relations to the
individual


The “others” are the source of modes of action,
rewards
,
deprivations





Powerful controlling elements in the “social organism.”


#1

LATENCY:
Pattern
-

Maintenance




Refers to the imperative that the patterns of
institutionalized culture remain stable (orderly
change)


Two Components to the imperative


Pattern of values


Motivational commitment



#2 Goal Attainment




Refers to the prioritized use of scarce resources for the
attainment of various goals within the system of goals.


There is a pluralism of goals (set) and of facilities (resources),
which result in the problem of organizing resources in the
system.


The primary criteria for organization is flexibility.


maximizing disposability of resources in the process of allocating for
alternative goals.


Therefore, while it is possible to have a social system with only
one goal, most situations involve many environments and
require a system of goals.


#3 Adaptation




Refers to
a directional change

to reduce the
discrepancy between the needs of the
system

and
the conditions of the
environment.


The system is inter
-
related to a physical and socio
-
political environment, therefore, adaptation is
essential to survival.


Usually seen in the form of shifting societal goals.


#4 Integration




Refers to the mutual adjustment of subsystems in a way that
contributes to the effective functioning of the total system.


All social systems are composed of smaller subsystems.


In complex, highly differential societies the integrative function is
found in the system of legal norms.


The allocation of rights and obligations to differing subsystems.


The differences in integrative function offers the greatest distinction
between societies and is the focus of sociological theory.


Age and Sex in the Social Structure of
the United States by Talcott Parsons
(1940’s)


“Age Grading” does not involve direct categorization


Age Grading is inter
-
related with other social
elements


As an organizing point for many social components:


Kinship structure (
Preferential treatment of older children


birth order is irrelevant
)


Education


Occupation


Community participation

Sex Differences in Social Structure


Perhaps play interests and dress differences
are diminishing with time, BUT


Females are still more apt to be docile and
conformist


No female equivalent to the “bad boy.”


Males are more apt to be recalcitrant to
discipline and defiant of adult authority

Conformist v. Deviant


One explanation for the difference is that from an
early age girls are initiated into many aspects of the
adult female role.


Mothers teach young girls the activities of the house and
the importance of the activities


Fathers, on the other hand, are not present for most of the
young boys


Young boys are not able to “see” the work of Dad.


Male Role Model Isolation


The son is not able to see his father work.


Especially true of the urban setting


The son is then left with no tangible model to
emulate


Farm boys tend to have “good sense,” but
urban boys lack good sense.

Age and Sex Stratification Transitions


Throughout the life course there are certain
transitional periods where fundamental
changes in stratification take place.


During each transition new features of the
social setting create change in the influence of
age and sex on the hierarchy of authority.

Childhood to Adolescence


End of sex role symmetry


Begin girl chaperonage and supervision


Begin boys being given more unsupervised
activity


Begin a complex combination of age and sex
grading


Youth culture


Many activities repudiate adult interests


Adult males are responsible and dependable, but young males
are irresponsible and undependable


Male Examples


Emphasis on athletics or comparable interests


Attractiveness is a value in athletics


An average roundedness of competence is valued
over the performance of a specific function


“He is a nice guy.”

Female Examples


Tendency to accentuate sexual attractiveness


Dating success is a form of prestige


Popularity and prestige are based on the
superficial qualities not concrete qualities


Adolescence to Adulthood


Both sexes experience a loss of the glamorous element


Males move from the athletic to the business executive model


Males are not genuinely respected unless they have an occupational status
that earns a living


Females move from the beautiful, sexy to the domestic model
(in some cases the business)


Females that take the domestic route are not employed or are employed in
jobs that do not compete for the same status as males


Females that take the business route are not married and do not have children


the very few that are have dramatically altered home lifestyles from the
general population

Adult Sex Role Tension


The emergence of the occupation as the principle status
component is the main source of adult sex role tension in
marriage


In modern society the wife has lost the equality of rural society


The wife has a Pseudo occupation based on the drudgery of
chores


A disassociation of the personality from the tasks being performed


Advertisements focus attention of the disassociation by using the desire to
have hands that do not look like they wash dishes


Thus, the domestic model is most closely followed and defended by those
that cannot compete in occupational status

Female Sex Role Change

Two Trends are present today


One is the modified domestic model


The symbols of female attractiveness has been taken over by
practices traditionally beyond the scope of “respectable”
society


Female emancipation


Women smoking, drinking, tattoos, piercing, etc.


The second is a humanistic model


Here the concern is for the progress of community


The wife as good companion and civic patriot



Female Sex Role Categories

1.
Domestic


Wife


Mother


Home Management

2.
Glamour


Beauty


Leisure


Attraction

3.
Companion


Community


Social Welfare


Politically Attentive



Male Sex Role Change


Many Elements of Strain


Expectations


Achievement


Responsibility


Authority


Male Sex Role Limitations


Occupational Specialization


High levels of energy required


High levels of time required


Very narrow behavioral content


All restrict the area to share common interests and
experience (especially with the wife or girlfriend)


Open relationships that are work related create a
rivalry friction in the marriage


Old Age


The most common feature of old age is
Isolation

from the rest

Two Structural Reasons

1.
Children become independent through marriage and occupation


Parents are left without any significant continuous kinship group

2.
Occupational structure creates a gradual retirement process (not abrupt)


The elder is in a position where the functions are gradually reduced, so aging
reduces the job and the attachment to community


Social isolation, less than physical deterioration may be responsible for the
increasing numbers of physical maladies among the elderly (Heart disease,
Alzheimer's, and Cancer)


The System of Modern Societies


Society is a social system with the highest
level of self
-
sufficiency.


Relative to the surrounding environs


Depends on the inputs received through
interchanges with environs


Stability means balancing the inputs and outputs
exchanged surrounding environs

Self
-
Sufficiency of the Social
System


Four components


Economic


Involves the adaptive function of society.


Political


Involves the goal attainment function of society.


Personality


Involves the pattern
-
maintenance function of
culture in relation to values.


Social


Involves the degree to which institutions are
legitimized and integrated by the consensual value
commitments of its members.

Subsystems of Society

Subsystem



Function

Societal Community

Integrative

Fiduciary




Pattern Maintenance

Polity




Goal Attainment

Economy




Adaptation



Societal Community


Primary function is to define the obligations of
loyalty to the societal collective.


Loyalty is the readiness to respond to properly
justified appeals for action in the name of public
interest.


The big problem for the individual is the adjustment
of obligations among competing loyalties.


Family v. work

Fiduciary


Value commitments in contrast with loyalty are
independent of cost or punishment.


To not meet your agreements of trust is illegitimate.


Value commitments are a matter of honor and or
guilt.


Fiduciary agreements are generalized not specific.


The agreement to not exploit others is different from
lending money for interest.

Polity


The organizational component responsible for enforcing normative
standards.


In complex societies the function is performed by specialized agencies.


Police


Court systems combine the determination of obligations with the specific
interpretation of the meaning of norms.


Constitutional law


A social system is political when it involves the mobilization of resources
for the attainment of collective goals.


Business firms and universities are political


Government is centered on two primary functions:


Maintain society against generalized threats


Collective action to promote the public interest

Economy


Governing the practical matters of managing social
resources.


Involves the development of a generalized monetary
medium.


The development of markets and monetary instruments.


Rests on the “rights” component of citizenship.


An economy that is purely administered by government
violates the individuals freedom ot engage in market
transactions.


Once highly developed however, government
administration becomes an important channel to
mobilize societal resources.


Manifest and Latent Functions by
Robert K. Merton


Manifest Functions refer to the conscious motivations
for social behavior


Building a new road to relieve traffic congestion


Latent Functions refer to the objective consequences
of the same behavior


Increased congestion, fostering a need for more roads


Manifest (motive) and Latent (function) vary
independently


The subjective categories of motivation vary independently
of the objective categories of consequence.

Two Specific Uses of Manifest and
Latent Function

1.
Clarifies analysis of seemingly irrational social patterns.


Many social patterns persist even though the purpose is clearly not
attained.


If purpose and outcome do not (or cannot) be coordinated there is a
tendency to attribute the behavior to ignorance or superstition.


The problem for sociology is that the perspective ignores the function the
behavior may fulfill which is separate from the motivation.


For example, the “rain dance” may perform a function that has nothing to do
with producing rain.


Only the meteorologist should be concerned with whether or not the dance
produces rain!


Sometimes irrational behavior maybe positively functional for the group.

#2. Directs attention toward


theoretical thinking.


Directs attention to latent functions which are beyond the
manifest functions of behavior.


Does the new system of wage payment reduce employee turnover?


An important question, but confined to the manifest, the study is directed
by practical concerns, and not the theoretical interests of the sociologist.


The terms of appraisal are fixed by the question.


Armed with the concept of latent function the sociologist can investigate
the idea that “the propaganda campaign not only increase the tendency
to buy war bands, but also decreased the tendency to express ideas which
differ from official policies.


Hawthorne Western Electric

Conspicuous Consumption


The manifest purpose of buying goods is to
satisfy needs


Costliness=excellence of the goods


The latent purpose is to heighten or reaffirm
social status


Costliness=mark of higher social status

Conspicuous Consumption (2)


The problem with making the manifest
function the end is:


Manifest functions do not fully account for the
prevailing patterns of consumption.


If status enhancement were removed from the
pattern of consumption, the patterns would
change in dramatic ways that no economist could
predict.

Manifest Functions of Consumption

1.
People eat caviar because they are hungry.

2.
People buy Ferrari’s because they want the best
car.

3.
People have dinner by candle light because they
like the peaceful atmosphere.


The common
-
sense manifest motives of the
purchasing practice gives way,


To the many latent functions which are also,
perhaps more significantly fulfilled by the practices.

Manifest and Latent Functions in
Politics and Business


Functional deficiencies of the official political structure
generate an alternative structure to fulfill the needs of a
specific sub
-
group.


Both illicit activities and political machines derive their power
from the connection to the local community.


Providing services that are not attainable through official legal
structures.


Hamas


Drug Dealers


Politics is transformed into personal ties.

Legal and Illegal Business


In real (functional) terms there is no difference
between illegal and legal business.


Both are concerned with providing goods that are in
economic demand.


Vice, crime, and drug dealing are “big business.”


In functional terms there is no difference between
providing liquor to the people of a “dry county” and
providing liquor to the people of a “wet county.”

Common Structural Features: legal and
illegal business

1.
Market demand drives the supply of goods
and services

2.
Major concern for maximizing profits

3.
Need for partial control of government to
avoid interference in the operation

4.
Need for a central agencies to act as a liaison
between business and government