Functionalism and its Critics - Essay Example

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This approach can provide a better understanding and interpretation of other cultures as compared to other approaches to social life.The concept of functions and systems necessarily outlines that there is causal and effect relationship which binds the social life and make them dependent on each other…
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Advantages of Social life in terms of functions & systems The systems approach to the social life which defines it in terms of functions and systems give birth to a new class system in the society which is more accurate and closer to the rational classification of society. (Stahovski 1999).
2) This approach can provide a better understanding and interpretation of other cultures as compared to other approaches to social life. (Schmaus 1999)
3) By defining social life in terms of the function and systems allow to define social facts in terms of functional relationships thus it greatly help avoid defining social life just in terms of behaviors.
4) Defining social life in terms of functions and systems provide a very concrete list of cultural values, norms, organizations and activities that are essential to describe the social life in more concrete and meaningful way.
5) The concept of functions and systems necessarily outlines that there is causal and effect relationship which binds the social life and make them dependent on each other.
Middle –range theory and Unified Theory
Middle rang theory by Robert Merton was a reaction to two broad arguments in sociology. One argument was lack of the old theories especially Unified theory to empirically prove the social phenomenon whereas on more general grounds, the ability of the theories to produce theories without the support of the critical thinking process. Middle Range Theory was based therefore on middle ground suggesting that they “lie between the minor but necessary working hypotheses” created by abstracted empiricism and “the all-inclusive systematic efforts to develop a unified theory that will explain all the observed uniformities of social behavior, social organization, and social change.” (Sevenhuysen n.d.). Thus Robert Merton outlined that sociology should be approached from a middle ground as it allow sociologists to integrate data collection and theory into effective approach that will ultimately allow sociology to embarrass a whole spectrum of social paradigm. Middle range theory is better than the unified theory in the sense that it provides a very balanced and rational approach towards studying sociology and social systems so that it can be approached from both micro and macro perspectives.
Social Order and functionalism
Social order refers to the “set of linked social structures, social institutions and social practices which conserve, maintain, and enforce normal ways of behaving and relating” (Wikipedia 2008). Social order therefore is relatively stable system of linked systems and functions and refers to those systems within the society which relatively stable and constant over the period of time. The social order is therefore largely based on the principle of social interdependence as the social order develops out of the dependence of one person over and other and in doing so they develop patterns of norms which ultimately give rise to the social order.
Functionalism as defined above is combination of systems and functions with interdependebility on each other therefore as the social order emerges out of the interdependence of the systems and functions therefore it give rise to a comprehensive social life.
Works Cited
1. Schmaus, Warren. "Functionalism and the Meaning of Social Facts." Philosophy of Science, 1999: S314-S323.
2. Sevenhuysen. "On Robert K. Merton and Middle-Range Theory." (accessed March 27, 2008).
3. Stahovski, Nadejda. "On Structural and Functional Status of Culture in the Social System." 1999. (accessed Marach 27, 2008).
4. Wikipedia. "Social Order." 2008. (accessed March 27, 2008). Read More
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