SOC-1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Economic System

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4 Feb 2017

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Structural Functionalism
-Main Assumption
Society is a complex system of elements called social institutions.
-Social Institutions work together to promote social order.
1. Family form
2. Political system
3. Economic system
4. Religion
5. Education System
Each social institution promotes order and contributes to survival.
An “organic approach
-Primary Components:
1. Society consists of a social structure (stable patterns of behavior)
2. The elements of the structure are linked as to promote survival of the whole
3. All elements are vital to survival
Every element of social structure has 2 “functions”
-Manifest Functions / the recognized and intended functions
-Latent Functions/ the unrecognized and unintended functions
Dysfunction: Any part of any social structure that persists but does not contribute to the survival
of the whole.
Since dysfunctions are typically unintended, Merton called them “Latent Dysfunctions”
Ex) Industrial Economy, Increased Standard of living, Increased life expectancy
Dysfunctions: It removed the economic advantage of older adults.
Criticism of Structural Functionalism
1. Conservative Bias
-Assumes society “is as good as it can be” so why change it.
-Overlooks the ways social relationships change over time.
2. Presumes order is normal
-Conflict is viewed as abnormal and the result of inadequate, socialization, not as defects in
3. Ahistorical
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