Sociological Reflections: Personal Journey through Functionalism

When I reflect on my personal sociological standpoint, I identify myself as a proponent of functionalism with an underpinning of organic solidarity within my personal background. However, an intriguing parallel emerges as I find resonance with conflict theory, particularly in the context of my educational experience in the United States.

The Foundation of Family: Functionalism and Organic Solidarity

Growing up in a culturally diverse city within the confines of a traditional family structure – encompassing parents and grandparents – has significantly shaped my sociological perspective.

My family stands as a fundamental framework, the nucleus that enables my functionality and success in society. Functionalism, as elucidated in sociology, advocates for the idea of maintaining cohesion among diverse societal components.

In my familial context, my mother emerges as a major mentor, her influence permeating my decision-making processes. The family functions as an "organism," with each member playing distinct roles on a daily basis, contributing to the overall stability of our relations. This familial cohesion, akin to organic solidarity, has not only provided me with a strong foundation but has also empowered me to actively engage in my larger community.

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Delving into the historical context, my grandmother's generation embodies the essence of mechanical solidarity. Hailing from a small urban area, she navigated a life characterized by hard work and diverse skills, contributing to the maintenance of a farm. This era featured a collective ethos, where individuals engaged in various types of labor, blurring the lines between traditionally defined roles.

However, my personal narrative unfolds in the era of organic solidarity.

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Transitioning from a small community to a bustling Ukrainian city in the 1970s, my family had to adapt to a different form of functionalism. Unlike the homogeneity of my grandmother's community, my family operates like a human cell, with each member playing unique roles. This dynamic structure, reflective of organic solidarity, has been instrumental in maintaining balance within my family.

Functionalism in Education and Professional Growth

Extending the lens of functionalism to my educational and professional endeavors reveals its pervasive influence. Education, as a crucial tool of socialization, plays a pivotal role in shaping individuals for successful functioning in society. My journey through school mirrors the principles of functionalism, where I imbibed cultural norms and values while experiencing a microcosm of the wider societal framework.

As a product of the educational system, I recognize the significance of schools and colleges in fostering social integration. Early on, I imbibed the values of achievement, competition, and equality of opportunity, crucial elements in maintaining social harmony. The emphasis on education as a means of socialization equipped me with the necessary skills for personal growth and contribution to society.

However, my relocation to the United States presented a clash between educational systems, highlighting the potential conflicts within functionalism. The disparity in recognition of degrees between countries became evident when my nursing degree from Ukraine was not acknowledged in the U.S. The ensuing challenges led to a conflict between the two educational systems, requiring me to navigate a complex process to establish professional credentials in the U.S.

Conflict and Inequality in the Educational Landscape

The conflict theory gains prominence in my experience as an immigrant facing the barriers within the American educational system. The unequal recognition of foreign credentials poses a significant hurdle for many immigrants seeking professional practice and acknowledgment of their expertise in the U.S. The American educational system, acting as a gatekeeper, often impedes the professional aspirations of foreign professionals.

Upon my arrival in the U.S., the disappointment of not being able to work as a nurse due to the non-recognition of my degree compelled me to retrace my steps. The inequality in educational systems coerced me to restart my healthcare career at an entry-level position as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to demonstrate competence. This narrative resonates with the broader issue faced by many immigrants who find their credentials unrecognized, forcing them into lower-level positions despite their professional background.

The American system, while offering opportunities, simultaneously perpetuates inequality, particularly for immigrants striving to establish themselves professionally. The conflict between educational systems becomes a recurring theme in the lives of many foreign professionals, limiting their access to careers commensurate with their qualifications.

Conclusion: Navigating the Sociological Landscape

In conclusion, my personal sociological journey traverses the terrain of functionalism and conflict theory, unveiling the complexities within societal structures. From the foundational stability of family as an "organism" to the influence of functionalism in education and the conflicts arising from the disparity in educational systems, my experiences reflect the nuanced interplay of sociological paradigms.

As I continue to navigate the sociological landscape, the tension between functionalism and conflict theory becomes a dynamic force shaping my interactions and responses to societal structures. The recognition of inequality within educational systems underscores the need for a nuanced understanding of sociological paradigms, urging individuals to critically examine the systems that influence their lives.

Updated: Dec 15, 2023
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Sociological Reflections: Personal Journey through Functionalism. (2016, Aug 12). Retrieved from

Sociological Reflections: Personal Journey through Functionalism essay
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