Sociological Theory

Structural Functionalism

A structural functionalist takes a look at society from a macro-level by looking at Social Structure and social function (more below).

Structural-Functional view of Society

Society is complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity & stability (like the human body).

Social function looks at how various needs of society are met”. According to Robert Merton, there are 3 types of functions:

  1. Manifest Function Recognized and Intended Function
  2. Latent Function Unintended Function, but still beneficial for society
  3. Dysfunction Unintended, Harmful

For example, let’s try to take a look at School from a Structural-Functional perspective:

  1. Manifest Function: Train kids to create value in society through the knowledge that we transmit them
  2. Latent Function: To have kids know how to socialize
  3. Dysfunction: Bullying