StudyBoss » Functionalism » Strength and weakness of functionalism theory

Strength and weakness of functionalism theory

Table of Contents

Functionalism Inside the theory, plays a various parts on the society, which consist mainly of social institutions, and contributes to the sociality of the society. Sociologist Durkheim anticipates the society as an organisation where each component plays an important part but can not function alone, a part may crash or experience a crisis while other parts should be adapted to fill the remaining gap.

Functionalism is comprised of different parts of social society, parts that depend on each other and function to meet different needs in society. Particularly important in key defined institutions such as economy, family, media, etc. These institutions seem to give an important role to society and its good function. If there is no role in the institution then the institution dies, and this is the case, other institutions are created.

In a society usually the state is the one who pays for the education of the children and their education because the family is the one that pays the taxes. The society or the family depend on the education of the children, because on the basis of the education you get to find a good job and look after your family. So children become taxpayers who follow state regimes and obey them. This is one of the ways to enforce and follow the law. Then if this does not work the state or functionalist new rules because failure of these rules makes the society rebel and it badly affects social society.

From this perspective, disorganization in the system, such as deviant behavior, leads to change because social components need to be adapted to achieve stability.American functionalist Robert K. Merton has divided human functions into two types: apparent functions, and latent functions, which are unintentional and unseen. As an example, participating in a church that seems to be part of being a religion, but in fact it is a matter of teaching participants to see the difference of a persons from institutions.


Many sociologists have criticized Functionalism for neglecting negative implications in the social circle. Some critics, such as Italian theorist Antonio Gramsci, think that the prospect justifies the process of cultural hegemony that holds it. Functionalism does not encourage people to take an active role in changing the social environment, even when it can benefit them.


The strength of the functionalist theory is that it a macro level structural theory which uses an organic analogy- using the body as a way to describe the different parts within society. Parsons identifies three similarities; System, System Needs and Functions. The System being organisms such as the human body, and society which fit together in fixed ways.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Leave a Comment