Presentation on theme: "STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISM"— Presentation transcript:
1 STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISM The dominant theoretical paradigm of the British school of social anthropology, 1930–1955.Associated with the theoretical writings of A. R. Radcliffe-Brown in Structure and function in primitive societyA. R. Radcliffe-Brown
2 A.R. Radcliffe-Brown Born: Alfred Reginald Brown Birmingham, England, 1881Family of modest meansLast of three childrenHad tuberculosis--left his lungs impairedIn 1926 he added his mother's maiden name to hisown, becoming famous as A. R. Radcliffe-Brown.
3 EducationKing Edward’s High School in Birmingham and Trinity College, CambridgeTurn of the century important developments in field of philosophy and in anthropologyRadcliffe- Brown spent the years in Andaman IslandsHis fellowship for Trinity College was a reconstruction of Andamanese culture history
6 Influences French Sociologists: Durkheim Mauss in particular Thereafter was concerned primarily with the meaning and function of rites, myths, and institutions
7 Career Most of working life spent outside England. He held chairs of social anthropology at:Cape Town,Sydney,Chicago,Oxford,Visiting professor at Yenching, China in 1935 andSao Paulo, Brazil from 1942 to 1944.
8 Career After retirement from Oxford: Professor of social science and director of Institute of Social Studies at Farouk University, Alexandria, Egypt from 1947 to 1949Later held special appointment at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, from 1951 to 1954.
9 “I conceive of social anthropology as the theoretical natural science of human society, the investigation of social phenomena by methods essentially similar to those used in the physical & biological sciences.While I have defined social anthropology as the study of human society, there are some who define it as the study of culture.It might be thought that this difference is of minor importance.Actually it leads to two different kinds of study”
10 “In a hive of bees there are the relations of association of the queen, the workers & the drones. These are social phenomenon; I do not suppose that anyone will call them cultural phenomena.Let us consider what are the concrete, observable facts with which the social anthropologist is concerned.We can observe the acts of behavior of these individuals.We do not observe a culture since that word is but an abstraction.I use the term “social structure” to denote this network of actually existing relations”
12 Malinowski Biopsychological Functionalism or “Needs” Functionalism Society meets the needs of individuals
13 Marcel Mauss: Exchange Functionalism Emile Durkheim’s nephewClassic work The Gift, Mauss argued that gifts are never "free".Gifts give rise to reciprocal exchange"What power resides in the object given that causes its recipient to pay it back?"
14 Marcel MaussThe answer is simple: The giver does not merely give an object but also part of himself, for the object is indissolubly tied to the giver.The objects are never completely separated from the men who exchange them.
15 Marcel Mauss Because of this bond between giver and gift, The act of giving creates a social bond with an obligation to reciprocate on part of the recipient.To not reciprocate means to lose honor and status,But the spiritual implications can be even worse:In Polynesia, failure to reciprocate means to lose mana, one's spiritual source of authority and wealth.
16 Radcliffe-Brown Structural Functionalism Structure – Organized arrangement of the parts of societyFunction – The contribution of the parts to the maintenance of the whole
17 Structural Functionalism People exist to meet the needs of societyIndividuals are cogs in the social systemMalinowski: Funeral meets psychological needs of the individualRadcliffe-Brown: Funeral creates social solidarity of the group
18 Structural Functionalism Societies have structure and orderAll phenomena occurring within the culture are seen to have theUnderlying goal of maintaining the overall societal structure and order, despite individual motivation..
19 Five Basic Principles1. Society is seen as an organically structured whole akin to a biological organism.2. Society has a social structure - an ordered arrangement of parts.3. Structure is ideally integrated, unified, and exists in equilibrium.
20 Five Basic Principles4. This structure is the object of analysis; the most valued data is the structure you can abstract.5. The function of Social activities and institutions is ultimately interpreted in terms of maintaining the whole social structure of the society
21 Function Of Institutions Is To Maintain The Structure The problem for society is to survive — to maintain its structureBut basic human nature is inherently selfish andIs therefore hostile to that survival.
22 Society’s SurvivalTherefore the behavior of individuals must be molded to the requirements society needs to surviveConflict must be restrained andThe conduct of persons in their interrelations with each other must be controlled by norms or rules of behaviorFailure of the individual to follow these norms results in sanctions
23 MALINOWSKI: Society seen as a nurturing, comforting, cocoon emanating from, and responding to, human needsRADCLIFFE-BROWN: Society seen as a tyrannical entity, often at odds with human nature, which controls humans by injecting fears and anxieties into their psyches, and if necessary sacrificing them for its own sake