What Is a Structural Functionalism Example?

A family unit where the mother stays at home to care for the children while the father works a job outside the home to earn money is an illustration of structural functionalism.

One of the major causes sociologists believe has shaped society is structural functionalism, commonly known as functionalism or the functionalist perspective. Conflict theory is the alternative. Macrosociology is interested in society’s overall structure and development. Social institutions, social structures, and shifts in politics and the economy are some of the more significant events that mould a society.

Macrosociologists research significant shifts that have a significant impact on the various directions that a society takes as well as how those shifts effect people on a personal level. Like microsociology, macrosociology sees society as a system of interconnected pieces that support a society’s overall ability to function.

On the other hand, microsociologists research little-scale occurrences. To comprehend the causes of and implications of interactions between people, families, groups of coworkers, and communities, researchers look at interactions between these groups.

Although they investigate fundamentally the same interactions, macrosociology and microsociology have different perspectives on them. Together, their perspectives offer a more complex understanding of how a society functions on all levels.

The Functionalism’s Facets Macrosociology attributes structural functionalism with a number of central presumptions and beliefs. According to functionalism, a strong and healthy society must have social stability, and this can only be achieved by sufficient social interaction and collaboration between its members.

To accomplish that social stability, numerous institutions within a society carry out distinct tasks. According to functionalism, quick social change can harm society whereas steady change is good for it.

The history of functionalism Between the 18th and 19th centuries, functionalism developed. It was influenced by both the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s and the French Revolution in 1789. Aristocrats in other parts of Europe were concerned that the same social upheaval would occur after the French Revolution, which devastated France.

At the period, intellectuals also worried about the collapse of social order. The Industrial Revolution in the 1800s heightened those worries. People moved closer to cities as a result of economic growth and job opportunities. Competition for resources grew as city populations swelled, which resulted in violent outbursts and property destruction.

What Makes a Stable Society? Intellectuals stressed the necessity for social structure, order, and rules with laws to promote good health and function in response to the events of the two Revolutions. Functionalism, which restrained people’s power through the two mechanisms of socialisation and social integration, was their chosen approach.

People learn the social norms of their community and the value of collaboration through socialisation. In order to foster societal integration and foster a respect for its principles, social integration links people with social institutions. Families and religion are two examples of this.

Functionalism also tends to be cautious about rapid societal change. Rapid social change, according to functionalists, generally makes little sense and endangers the peace and stability of society.

Functionalism is therefore regarded as a conservative viewpoint that upholds the status quo. Functionalism describes the reasoning for a society’s function on a large scale, complementing conflict theory, which contends that social structures are shaped by ingrained inequalities in terms of class, gender, and other aspects.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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