functionalism

(noun) A theory that views society as a orderly and stable system with interconnected parts designed to meet the needs of individuals in a society.

Audio Pronunciation: (func·tion·al·ism)

Download Audio Pronunciation: functionalism.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • The basic assumption of functionalism is all elements of society serve a purpose.
  • To understand functionalism think of different aspects of society as body parts or car parts, each part as a purpose.
  • Also called:
    • functionalist perspective
    • functionalist theory
    • social systems theory

Related Quotations:

  • “According to [functionalism], a society is composed of interrelated parts, each of which serves a function and (ideally) contributes to the overall stability of the society. Societies develop social structures, or institutions, that persist because they play a part in helping society survive. These institutions include the family, education, government, religion, and the economy. If anything adverse happens to  one of these institutions or parts, all pother parts are affected the system no longer functions properly” (Kendall 2006:15).
  • “Functionalist perspectives assume that society is a stable, orderly system characterized by societal consensus” (Kendall 2006:37).

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 

 


Reference

Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

 

Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Dillon, Michele. 2014. Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.

Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).

Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

O’Leary, Zina. 2007. The Social Science Jargon Buster: the Key Terms You Need to Know. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.

Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.

Stolley, Kathy S. 2005. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Thorpe, Christopher, Chris Yuill, Mitchell Hobbs, Sarah Tomley, and Marcus Weeks. 2015. The Sociology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. London: DK.

Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

 

How to Cite the Definition of Functionalism

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “functionalism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 16, 2018 (https://sociologydictionary.org/functionalism/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

functionalism. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/functionalism/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “functionalism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 16, 2018. https://sociologydictionary.org/functionalism/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“functionalism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 16 Dec. 2018. <https://sociologydictionary.org/functionalism/>.