Friday, October 29, 2010

Essay on Functionalist Theory

Essay on Functionalist Theory

The theory I have chosen for this theory application is Functionalism. Functionalism dates back to the 19th Century and has been brought along and expanded on by many Theorists throughout its history.

Technological advances and changing political events through out history helped to shape the functionalism theories of the 20th Century European and United States Sociologists. In keeping with this Sociology 1000 class I will use the 20th Century Functionalism ideas of Talcott Parsons.

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When we look at the Functionalist system theory in the larger scope, this theory looks at the questions that come up concerning the integration of society by means of consensus, or agreement on how its needs will be met. The second element is Social Action. This takes place between actors and within a social system. The social system is one part of the systems theory and is based on the interaction between actors or people. The system theory is defined as a whole unit with boundaries and connected parts, in which an event takes place. The other two elements within the system theory are Cultural and Personality systems. The cultural system includes values and norms that influence individual choices. The personality system is the motivations and need based choices that govern choices made. Parsons also believed that change does take place but in small amounts. When equilibrium is disrupted, it must be quickly restored as close to original as possible.

A whole unit with interconnected parts leads me to the image of my large semi-organized family. The social action is the confrontation that occurs within the boundaries of my house between my two boys. In these instances, I can only hope that the Cultural system will kick in and my boys will, with the values and norms instilled in them, make individual choices to respect each other and their own space. The Personality System takes place when I need to write papers for school. I am motivated to complete my work. I need peace and quiet to do that effectively. These needs and motivations help me to decide to make popcorn (two separate bowls) and put in a movie for the boys to watch. Equilibrium happens in my house when mom gets her paper finished and the children are in bed. Peace and equilibrium are restored.

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