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).
Related Online Discussions
- What’s one rule that your school/workplace has implemented that absolutely backfired? – Ask Reddit: reddit.com
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.
Dillon, Michele. 2014. Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011a. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011b. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
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.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.
Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.
Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.
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.
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.
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.
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “manifest function.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved August 2, 2021 (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 August 2, 2021. https://sociologydictionary.org/manifest-function/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“manifest function.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 2 Aug. 2021. <https://sociologydictionary.org/manifest-function/>.