Structural functionalism is a perspective used in the analysis of society and their component features. Structural functionalism focusses on the mutual integration and interconnection of societies. Structural functionalism deals with and focusses on what social functions various elements of the social system perform with regard to the system as a whole.
Social structures are placed at the center of analysis in structural functionalism, and social functions are deduced from these structures. Structural functionalism means that social institutions which collectively form social structures, function in order to maintain the harmony of the social whole.
Structural functionalism was a theoretical school in British social anthropology and was formulated in opposition to evolutionism. The concern of structural functionalism was a continuation of the David Emile Durkheim view of the need for stability and internal cohesion in the system as a whole.
Unlike the other major theoretical approaches, the structural functional model comes from a variety of authors. Though it is mainly associated with Talcott Parsons, the single most famous article is a short summary article on social stratification by Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore. Robert King Merton is another well known sociologist who provided some important structural functional theoretical statements.
Parsons and the functionalist approach to sociology occupy an intermediate position between classical and contemporary sociology. Parsons and the functional approach to sociology became so dominant that sociology and functionalism became more or less synonymous.
Wallace and Wolf trace the development of structural functionalism to Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, and Durkheim. The functional approach was developed from the 1930s through the 1960s in the United States.
Structural functionalism emphasizes the aspects of social institutions and behavior that are conducive to stability and order within society. Functionalism analyses the way that social processes and institutional arrangements contribute to the effective maintenance and stability of society. The fundamental perspective is opposition to major social change.
Structural functionalism drew its inspiration primarily from the ideas of David Emile Durkheim, Bronislaw Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown. Structural functionalist theory is associated with Radcliffe-Brown and Evans-Pritchard.
Structural functionalism is a range of theoretical perspectives within anthropology and sociology that addresses the relationship of social activity to an overall social system. The most famous accomplishment of the structural functionalists was the formulation of segmentary lineage theory.
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