Sociological Perspective: The Functionalist Perspective

First of all, we need to know what society is.Society is a bunch of individuals who live in a determinable community and share similar/same culture (in sociological terms). On a boarder scale, society consists of the individuals and institutions around us, our shared beliefs, and our cultural ideas. Sometimes more developed societies share political authority as well.

One important sociological perspective is the functionalist perspective that relies for the most part on the work of Parsons. What functionalism says is that society could be a system of inter-related institutions that work along harmonic to provide a balance and sociable atmosphere.

For instance, every single institution contributes vital functions for society: Family provides a context for reproducing, nurturing, and socialisation of children; school offers a way to speak a society’s skills, cognition, and civilisation to the younger generations; politics provide a method of governing members of society; sociology provides for production, distribution, and intake of products and help; and religion provides moral comfort and an exit for prayers of a higher powerfulness.

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Sociologists have known two kinds of functions: manifest and latent. Manifest functions are outcomes that are meant and normally recognised. Latent functions are outcomes that are accidental and frequently hidden. As an example, the manifest purpose of educastion is to transmit wisdom and skills to society’s youth. However, public elementary academies conjointly function as babysitters for parents with a professional pathway (middle and high class more than likely), and universities provide an area for young adults to fulfill potential mates.

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The baby-sitting and mate-selection functions don’t seem to be meant or usually recognised functions of education; therefore they’re latent functions.

Another type of sociological perspective is the conflict perspective. The functionalist perspective sees society as composed of various elements operating along. As composed of various organisations and concern competence for quality and funds. The conflict view explains various aspects of our sociable universe by spotting at big organisations that have quality and enjoy a selected sociable arrangement, as an example, feminism argues that we tend to sleep in a patriarchal society - a ranked system of organisations controlled by men.

Although there are many types of feminists, most would hold that feminism “demands that existing economic, political, and sociable structures are modified”. The origins of the conflict perspective may be copied to the classic work of Karl Marx. He steered that every society undergoes stages of economic development. As societies evolve from agricultural to industrial, concern over meeting survival needs is replaced by concern over earning a profit, the hallmark of a capitalist system, industrial enterprise ends up in the development of 2 categories of individuals: the middle class, or the bourgeoise, the owners of production (e.g. factories, farms, businesses, etc); and also the socio-economic class, or the proletariat who earn wages.

The division of society into 2 categories of individuals is helpful to the owners of production. The workers who might earn solely survival wages, are denied access to the numerous funds out there to the rich people. As said by Marx, the middle class use their vigour to regulate the establishment of society to their advantage. As an example, Marx steered that faith is an “expression of material realities and economic injustice”. In this soothes the distress and suffering related to the working-class’ situation and focuses the people’s attention on spirituality, God, and also the life after death instead of on such worldly issues as living conditions. In essence, faith diverts the staff so they target being rewarded in heaven for living an ethical life instead of on questioning their exploitation.

As this definition suggests, health is an advanced conception. although the 3 dimensions of health mentioned usually have an effect on one another, it's potential for somebody to be in great physical health and poor mental state, or the other way around. Medicine refers to the social institution that looks to stop, diagnose and treat unhealthiness and to push health in its numerous dimensions. Finally, health care refers to the supply of medical services to stop, diagnose and treat health issues.

With these definitions in mind, we now turn to sociological explanations of health and health care. Let’s discuss the major assumptions of each theoretical perspective. Functionalism: Healthiness and effective treatment are essencial for the flawless functioning of society. Patients have to perform the “sick role” so that they can be perceived as rightfully unwell and to be exempt from their usual obligations. The doctor-patient relationship is class-conscious because doctors provide directions, and also the patient must follow them.

To grasp this we have to understand what the sick role is, and it consists of the way of explaining the actual rights and responsibilities of people who are sick. Since those who are diagnosed with a medical condition will not usually fulfil alike duties that a healthy person can, society adapts to the current scenario and permits for a moderate quantity of deviation from a behaviour that might be viewed as typical of a well person.

Conflict theory: Social inequality is characterised for the standard of health and also the quality of health care. People from a lower social class tend to become sick easier and to get inadequate health care. Also to extend their incomes, doctors have tried to put an equilibrium between the apply of drugs and outlining social issues as medical issues. As formed by Parsons, the functionalist perspective emphasizes that smart welfare and effectual check-up tending are necessary for a society’s capability to operate. Unwell health impairs our capability to perform our use in society, and if several people are unhealthy, society’s functioning and stability suffer.

This was very true for premature decease, aforesaid Parsons, as a result of it forestall person from absolutely effecting all their sociable uses and therefore represents a “poor return” to society for the varied prices of maternity, birth, child tending, and socialisation of the individual who dies early. Poor check-up tending is likewise dysfunctional for society, as people that are sick face bigger problems in turning into healthy and people who are healthy additionally like to become sick.

For someone to be thought of lawfully sick, many expectations should be met. Parsons named this expectations as the sick role. First, sick individuals shouldn’t be perceived as having caused their own welfare drawback. If we tend to eat high-fat food, become overweight, and have a heart-failure, we tend to evoke less sympathy than if we tend to had applied sensible nutrition and maintained an ideal weight. Second, sick individuals should wish to be well. If they don’t have the urge to get well or, worse yet, are perceived as faking their sickness or evading once getting healthier, they’re not thought of lawfully sick by those who know them or, usually, by society itself.

Third, sick individuals are expected to have their sickness confirmed by a doctor or different health-care professional and to follow the professional’s directions to become well. If an ill person doesn’t do this, they lose the right to perform the sick role. If these expectations are met, said Parsons, sick individuals are treated as sick by their family, their friends, and others they apprehend, and they become exempt from their pattern duty to all these individuals. typically they're even told to remain in bed when they wish to stay active.

Doctors even have a use to perform, aforementioned Parsons. 1st and foremost, they need to diagnose someone’s illness, opt for the way to treat it, and assist that person to become well. To do so, they have the collaboration of the patient, who should answer the doctor’s questions accurately and follow the doctor’s directions. Parsons therefore viewed the doctor-patient relationship as hierarchal: the doctor offers the orders (or, more accurately, provides recommendations and instructions), and therefore the patient follows them.

Parsons was actually right in emphasizing the importance of person’ sensible well-being for society’s well-being, however his perspective has been criticized for many reasons. First, the sick role usage is more effective to acute (short-run) illness than to chronic (long-run) illness. although His treatment tremendously connotes... of his treatment connotes that somebody briefly enters a sick use and leaves it shortly once following adequate check-up tending, individuals with chronic illness are often latched into a sick use for a while or perhaps forever.

Second, Parsons’s treatment ignores the reality, mentioned earlier, that our sociable backgrounds have an effect on the likelihood of turning into sick and therefore the quality of check-up tending we receive. Third, Parsons wrote with approval of the hierarchy inherent the doctor-patient relationship. many of us say today that patients have to be compelled to cut back this hierarchy by asking additional questions of their doctor and by taking a additional active use in maintaining their wellbeing.

To the seriousness that doctor don't continually give the most effective check-up tending, the hierarchy that Parsons favoured is at least partially guilty. The conflict approach emphasizes gaps within the quality of health and of health-care conveyance. Society’s inequities on sociable class, race and ethnicity, and gender lines are reproduced in our well-being. As we are going to see, the grounds of gaps in well-being is immense and dramatic. The conflict theory conjointly critiques attempt by doctor over the period of time to regulate the usage of medication and to outline numerous sociable deficiencies as check-up ones. Doctors’ motive for doing so has been both sensible and dangerous.

On the good position, they have believed they're the most qualified professional to diagnose deficiencies and to treat people that have these deficiencies. On the negative position, they have conjointly recognised that their financial condition can improve if they achieve characterising sociable deficiencies as check-up deficiencies and in monopolising the medical care of those deficiencies. Once these deficiencies become “medicinal,” their potential sociable roots and so potentiality solutions are neglected. many examples illustrate dispute reasoning’s rebuke. medicine is turning more and more common, however this has rebuke of it by the check-up institution.

Doctors might honestly feel that check-up selection are inadequate, ineffectual, or perhaps dangerous, however they conjointly recognise that the usage of those alternatives is financially harmful to their own use. eating disorders additionally illustrate dispute reasoning’s rebuke. several of the ladies and girls who have eating disorders receive assist from a doctor, a shrink, a expert, or another health-care expert. although this tending is usually very helpful, the definition of eating disorders as a check-up problem nonetheless provides a good origin of earnings for the expert who treat it and obscures its cultural roots in society’s criterion of beauty for girls. medical specialty tending provides another example.

In most of hominid history, nurse or their equivalent were the people that helped pregnant ladies deliver their infants. within the seventeenth decade, doctor claimed they were more trained than nurse and won law giving them authority to deliver infants. they'll have honestly felt that nurse were inadequately trained, however they also absolutely recognised that medicine tending would be quite profitable.

Critics say the conflict approach´s appraisal of well-being and medicine is excessively harsh and its rebuke of doctor’ motivation way too misanthropic. Scientific medicine has greatly improved the well-being of individuals around the universe. although doctors are definitely motivated , as many of us are, by economic thoughtfulness, their attempt to extend their range into previously non-medical region additionally stem from honorable faith that people’s well-being and lives can improve if these attempt succeed. actually there's some facts during this rebuke of the conflict approach, however the grounds of disparities in well-being and medicine and of the negative facet of the check-up establishment’s motivation for extending its reach remains compelling.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Sociological Perspective: The Functionalist Perspective. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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