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manifest function

Definition of Manifest Function

(noun) The anticipated and intended goals of an action or social structure; the reason something is done.

Example of Manifest Function

Note: There is a latent function for each of these examples.

  • cell phones: Allow mobile communication between people.
  • clothing: Protects the wearer from the elements.
  • marriage ceremonies: Public acknowledgement of union between two or more people which legitimates sexual activity and subsequent children.
  • schooling: Transmits knowledge to the next generation.
  • war: Defend or claim territory, defeat an enemy.

Manifest Function Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: man·i·fest func·tion

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /mAn-uh-fest fUHngkshUHn/
  • British English – /mAn-i-fest fUHngkshUHn/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈmænəˌfɛst ˈfʌŋkʃən/
  • British English – /ˈmænɪfɛst ˈfʌnŋkʃən/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: manifest functions
  • Manifest functions are a key aspect of functional analysis.
  • Manifest functions are easily observed.
  • Manifest functions are often positive and latent functions are often negative, but depending on the subject this distinction is not clear. One group’s positive outcome, maybe a negative outcome for another group.
  • Functions and dysfunctions along with latent and manifest functions were theorized by Robert Merton (1910–2003) in Social Theory and Social Structure (1949, revised in 1957 and 1968).

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Works Consulted

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Cite the Definition of Manifest Function

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “manifest function.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved March 5, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/manifest-function/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

manifest function. (2015). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/manifest-function/

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

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “manifest function.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed March 5, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/manifest-function/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“manifest function.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 5 Mar. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/manifest-function/>.