Functionalism & Émile Durkheim

Clearly, from all the history in chapter 1, all philosophers and theories over the years have had a major impact on the way to study sociology. Reading through the chapter Émile Durkheim and the way he applied certain theories, such as functionalism stuck to me the most.

Functionalism, the theory Durkheim used, itself is very fascinating. Pretty much everything has to rely on each other in a society to be able to function properly. The chapter compared it to the way the human body works on how to keep it functioning you need it to work together, which really helped me see how much that really takes place in a society.

Durkheim believed that in order to be able to study society in the right matter was to look out and beyond just society in general, and look at the social facts within the society, and that they are all interrelated and depend on each other in order for the society to “function.” The social facts in a society include anything from rituals, religious beliefs, morals to laws and customs within a society (Openstax, 2016, p. 15). All these different social facts then rely on each other to keep the society going. This in particular, is very interesting because it gets you thinking about how if one “social fact” were to not be functioning properly then the society would have trouble functioning overall.

Although the way studying above and beyond and looking at social facts and the way everything works off each other in functionalism, the criticism of this theory was important to understanding that if something is going to function the same over and over again it really wasn’t going to explain any kind of change in the society. This amazed me because it stated that if they’re were to be some sort of dysfunction it would not affect anything in the society because they wouldn’t have a purpose.