Functional Sociological Perspective Definition of Terms Essay Sample

Published: 2022-11-03
Functional Sociological Perspective Definition of Terms Essay Sample
Essay type:  Definition essays
Categories:  Sociology
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1222 words
11 min read

Sociology: This refers to the study of society to understand the social behavior which is influenced by the macro-environment which is the large institutions such as government and the small groups which is the interaction between people. This definition shows that society exists when people work together and depicts the social nature of human beings (Ferris and Stein 10).

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Functional Sociological Perspective: According to (Ferris and Stein), the functional perspective of sociology refer to the aspects of society from a functional proposition that the society is interdependent and each part in the micro and macro levels work together to ensure a functioning society (Ferris and Stein 20).

The basic insight of the sociological perspective is that the world does not consist of a reality that everyone sees in the same way and that every one of us possesses our social construction of reality. The Micro level of analysis is that which pertains to the individual, and the macro level applies to the larger society (Ferris and Stein 15). Sociologists view social phenomena from different perspectives and levels. The sociological perspectives involve the conceptualization of society and its workings by creating a framework that identifies certain aspects of how society and its people work (Ferris and Stein 11). This paper will analyze the functional sociologist perspective to establish how it promotes the understanding of society at the macro and micro levels.

Functional Perspective

Herbert Spencer was the first to argue the sociology perspective from a functional phenomenon. Spencer proposed that there is no better way to understand society than viewing it like the functioning of a living organism in which all the systems work together as one and the failure of one system all the other systems' functions is affected. As such social institutions can be used to understand society because of their contribution to the overall well-being of the people (Ferris and Stein 23).

Systems in the Functional Sociological Perspective

The systems analyzed in the functional perspective are involved in constant change and continually seek to achieve an equilibrium at which the society is stable (Ferris and Stein 20). Besides, at equilibrium, the members of a society have a common understanding of needs, values and what is best for the society then where the society is at equilibrium.

The Family Role from a Functional Perspective

The family is the basic unit of the society and provides identity and sense of belonging to the members of the society. The family has roles that are unique from a functional perspective of society. The family functions in the society are important because they provide a social reality to the children and other family members. In the family, the children are socialized, there is emotional support and also there is practical support for all the members. In the society, the family helps to regulate any sexual activity, reproduction and also helps to give members an identity from which they can be identified by other society members. The family interacts with other social systems such as education and healthcare, and the failure of one system can affect the other which creates a phenomenon of interdependency. However, it is important to note that other sociological perspectives such as the conflict theory can be used to promote a better understanding of the family as a social institution (Ferris and Stein 374). For instance, understanding the economic and social inequality and how they affect families and societies as a whole can only be viewed from the conflict theory sociological perspective. The family in a micro level helps individuals to have identities and to develop social reality by interacting with the family members whereas in the macro level the families promote the existence of society by cumulatively creating governments, and institutions, and consuming the services provided by other families in a community (Ferris and Stein 282). Without families, a community cannot exist, and the idea of a government would also be irrelevant.

The Government Role in the Functional Social Perspective

From a functionalist sociology perspective, the government's role in the society is indispensable. To be able to understand society it is good to go beyond the individual aspects to the shared laws and symbols such as the government. The government in the society plans and directs the society on many social aspects such as regulating marriages and also ensuring social order such as social justice (Ferris and Stein 333). The absence of government institutions in the society would significantly affect the well-being of the society and create a gap. The government ensures that society can access all the necessary social needs such as employment, order, housing, and stability. Regarding function, the government provides the foundation for the existence of other social institutions such as the family and education. Families exist due to stability and order as well as the ability of society members to be able to provide all the needs required in the society through government jobs. Education creates a social order based on the qualifications of the members and provides opportunities for the society to meet its healthcare, financial, security, and engineering needs by providing skills to doctors, nurses, teachers and the engineers who ensure certain services are easily available in the society (Ferris and Stein 335).Any dysfunction or failure of the government to meet its function the society is bound to experience social problems. At the micro level, the government provides a sense of belonging and in the macro level the government provides protection and promote the existence of the society (Ferris and Stein 15).

Religion's Role in the Functional Social Perspective

From a functional perspective of society, religion is central to the existence of society due to shared beliefs, rituals and also social control. Religion in the social system functions promotes social cohesion by bringing people together through a common belief. Social cohesion is very important in promoting stability and making it possible for the government to function. Religion creates solidarity through rituals and beliefs, and it is also an instrument of social control by enforcing morals and norms that maintain social conformity and control. Religion allows a society to express itself by being an agent of culture. From a micro level, religion gives meaning to life as well as other systems such as the government and the family which are reinforced by the existence of religion. From a macro level, religion creates solidarity and common interests in a society which can help to bind the society members together.


There are many sociological perspectives that can be used to understand society. Society can be interpreted from the functional sociological perspective which proposes that society is made by interdependent systems which work together to create a cohesive society. The functional social perspectives identify the different but complementary functions of religion, government, and families. The family function is to give a sense of identity to society members and also create an environment of socialization, the government provides society with different needs, and also it is responsible for planning and creating order in society. Lastly, religion creates solidarity and a common identity for the families to create communities that conform to similar values and beliefs. The functional sociological perspective notes that all the systems work together as the human body to meet the needs of society at the micro and macro levels.

Works Cited

Ferris, Kerry and Jill Stein. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 6th Edition, 2018. Print.

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