Structural – Functional Approach Paradigm Essay

Structural – Functional Approach Paradigm Introduction to Sociology, Section: LO2 March 18, 2010 Abstract A summary of how structural-functional approach takes a look at society. How sociologists use the structural-function approach to analyze social issues. The summary also consists of an example of how structural-functional approach is used to predict an event and future events. The Structural – Functional Paradigm looks at society as a stable and orderly system in which the members share a common set of values, beliefs and behavioral expectations.

Society is then a set of interrelated parts, each of which serves a function, and contributes to the overall stability of a society. A society has a series of structures that all operate together to form a stable society. Stratification is a normal part of the system, since different positions carry different degrees of difficulty and require increasingly more qualified individuals to fill those positions. Structural-functional approach is a framework for building the theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability.

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This approach focuses on the importance of social structure – a relatively stable pattern of social behavior. Social structures give our lives shape in families, the work place, or the college classroom (Macionis, 2009). Other examples of social structures are health, media, recreation, sports, religion, socialization and deviance. This approach also focuses on any consequences for the operation of society as a whole. Social functions have three components: * Manifest Functions – the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern. Latent Functions – the unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern. * Dysfunctions – social pattern’s undesirable consequences for the operation of society. When sociologists use the structural – functional approach to analyze a social issue, they use the following key terms: * Stability * Dynamic Equilibrium * Consensus Lastly the structural-functional approach looks at society through a macro-level orientation, which is a broad focus on the social structures that shape society as a whole (DeRosso, 1999-2010). Let’s put the structural-function approach to work and see what data is determined.

In a recent local newspaper article titled “Officials work to obtain funding” explains how the city of Brazil may soon obtain funding to rehabilitate homes in the city. The grant, which is through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, places its rehabilitation focus on structural needs such as roofing and windows. “There are many areas of criteria considered when deciding which homes should receive funding including income level, disabilities and if the home is owned by an elderly individual,” Stacy Gibbens, Brazil City Planning Administrator explained.

She added that however much the city would receive from the grant, a 10-percent match would be required from the city. The match can come from donations or a specific fund, but it does not have to necessarily have to be a money match. The city may also have city workers assist in the rehabilitation, which has been done in the past, as part of the local match. The grant may not be enough to rehabilitate a large number of homes, but by being able to apply for the grant each year, it puts the city in a great position to help residents on a consistent basis (Jacobs, 2010).

The structural-functional approach to this event would be: * Grant Funds- Provided to State by Federal Government. * City Officials – Apply for the grant from the State. * City Workers – Provide the 10-percent match required by the city. * Citizens – apply for housing rehabilitation from the city. * City Officials – determine which applicants meet the requirements. * City Homes – receive repaired roofs and windows. * City Officials – can apply for funding again the next year. However rehabilitation for city homes can be costly for tax payers, by repairing only a few homes each year the expense should be minimal.

It is a good way for a community to improve the appeal of their city and could attract businesses and new people to the city creating new jobs and revenue for the existing businesses. Stimulated by Auguste Comte (1798–1857), Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), and especially Emile Durkheim (1858–1917), and encouraged through the anthropologists Bronislaw Malinowski (1884–1942) and A. R. Radcliffe-Brown (1881–1955), functionalism became important in sociology (Meisinger, 2010). Talcott Parson’s functionalism became the dominant paradigm in American sociology after World War II.

Talcott Parsons (1902–1979) envisioned society as a coherent and auto-regulating social system separated from its environment by boundaries. A social system itself consisted of relatively autonomous but also interdependent subsystems responsible for the general functional imperatives of adaptation, goal attainment, integration, and latency. Functionalism held that social systems tended toward equilibrium, change being slow and evolutionary, oriented toward increasing complexity and differentiation (HighBeam Research, 2010).

Each society has certain needs in that there are a number of activities that must be carried out for social life to survive and develop. Goods and services must be produced and distributed in order for people to survive, there must be some administration of justice, a political system must exist, and some family structure must operate so as to provide a means to reproduce the population and maintain social life on a daily basis. In the structural functional model, individuals carry out each of these tasks in various institutions and roles that are consistent with the structures and norms of the society. Works Cited DeRosso, D. (1999-2010).

The Structural-Functional Theoretical Approach. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from Wisc-Online. com: http://www. wisc-online. com/objects/ViewObject. aspx? ID=I2S3404 HighBeam Research, I. (2010). Sociology, Post-Parsonian American. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from Encyclopedia. com: http://www. encyclopedia. com/doc/1G2-3045302538. html Jacobs, J. (2010, March 14). Officials Work to Obtain Funding. The Brazil Times , p. 1. Macionis, J. J. (2009). Society the Basics. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc. Meisinger, H. (2010). Functionalism. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from Encylopedia. com: http://www. encyclopedia. com/doc/1G2-3404200218. html


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