Audio Pronunciation: (func·tion·al·ism)
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- 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
- “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).
- Word origin of “functionalism” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Faia, Michael A. 1986. Dynamic Functionalism. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Gans, Herbert. 1972. “The Positive Functions of Poverty.” American Journal of Sociology 78(2):275–89. doi:10.1086/225324.
- Isajiw, Wsevolod. 1968. Causation and Functionalism in Sociology. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
- Lukes, Steven, and W. D. Halls, eds. Durkheim: The Rules of Sociological Method. New York: Free Press.
- Malinowski, Bronisław. 1944. Scientific Theory of Culture and Other Essays. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
- Parsons, Talcott. 1951. The Social System. London: Collier Macmillan.
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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/>.