batchquonochontaugUrban and Civil

Nov 29, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)



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.














Associate Professor

Assistant Professor


Student (5




Individuals act in situations that includes “others.”

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

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

Powerful controlling elements in the “social organism.”




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

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

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

the conditions of the

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

“Age Grading” does not involve direct categorization

Age Grading is inter
related with other social

As an organizing point for many social components:

Kinship structure (
Preferential treatment of older children

birth order is irrelevant



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

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

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

Begin a complex combination of age and sex

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

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

The wife has a Pseudo occupation based on the drudgery of

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”

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




Home Management







Social Welfare

Politically Attentive

Male Sex Role Change

Many Elements of Strain





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

from the rest

Two Structural Reasons

Children become independent through marriage and occupation

Parents are left without any significant continuous kinship group

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

Relative to the surrounding environs

Depends on the inputs received through
interchanges with environs

Stability means balancing the inputs and outputs
exchanged surrounding environs

Sufficiency of the Social

Four components


Involves the adaptive function of society.


Involves the goal attainment function of society.


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


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

Subsystems of Society



Societal Community



Pattern Maintenance


Goal Attainment



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

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

Family v. work


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

Fiduciary agreements are generalized not specific.

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


The organizational component responsible for enforcing normative

In complex societies the function is performed by specialized agencies.


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


Governing the practical matters of managing social

Involves the development of a generalized monetary

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

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

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

Two Specific Uses of Manifest and
Latent Function

Clarifies analysis of seemingly irrational social patterns.

Many social patterns persist even though the purpose is clearly not

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

Manifest Functions of Consumption

People eat caviar because they are hungry.

People buy Ferrari’s because they want the best

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

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


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

Market demand drives the supply of goods
and services

Major concern for maximizing profits

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

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