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
Syllabification: man·i·fest func·tion
- American English – /mAn-uh-fest fUHngkshUHn/
- British English – /mAn-i-fest fUHngkshUHn/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈmænəˌfɛst ˈfʌŋkʃən/
- British English – /ˈmænɪfɛst ˈfʌnŋkʃən/
- 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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Cite the Definition of Manifest Function
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “manifest function.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (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 June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/manifest-function/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“manifest function.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/manifest-function/>.