Today’s Class Functionalism – Parsons – Merton – Functionalist approach to stratification Neofunctionalism Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) Dominance of functionalism mid-20th century Grand theory: problem of order Definition of social action – Voluntaristic – Subjective – Limited by culture Society as a system The System of Modern Societies System of action with 4 subsystems Subsystems and primary functions (AGIL) – Adaptation – Goal attainment – Integration – Pattern-maintenance (Latency) Subsystems and Primary Functions Subsystem Function Social system Integration Cultural system Pattern maintenance Personality system Goal attainment Behavioral organism Adaptation Independence of Subsystems Subsystems are related but independently variable – no subsystem is completely reducible to any other subsystem. Example: individual career choice Parsons on Sex Roles Segregated roles in American family Asymmetrical relation: functional, but causes strain Functional for occupational system Functional for “solidary kinship unit” Work and family: “mutual accommodation” Functional for spouse relationships Strain: prestige differential Critiques of Parsons Too focused on order and stability; ignores conflict, inequality and change No elaboration of theory through empirical investigations Robert K. Merton (1910- ) Middle-range theories Types of deviance – Innovator – Ritualist – Retreatist – Rebel Anomie: inconsistency of means and goals Role-sets – Possibility of conflict Merton’s Contributions to Functionalism Manifest vs. latent functions Concept of dysfunction Concept of functional alternatives Stratification: A Functionalist Account (Davis and Moore) Social inequality as necessary, inevitable, functional Need to distribute people into positions Not all positions are equal – Functional importance – Talent and skills Rewards: material, intellectual/emotional, cultural (prestige) Stratification: A Functionalist Account (Davis and Moore) Highest rewards to: – Most functionally important – Most talent or skills required Prestige as reward (not merely outcome of material rewards) Problems with Functionalist Account Defining “functionally important” Market imperfections – Linking talent and opportunities – Elite behavior (restricting access) Ignores dysfunctional aspects of stratification Dysfunctions of Stratification Limits expression of talent limits society’s productive resources Provides elite with power to maintain status quo Inhibits social integration (hostility, resentment, etc,) Limits sense of social membership reduced loyalty and participation Executive Compensation Year 2000: $20m average pay Growing disparity: CEO pay as multiple of blue-collar pay 1980: 42x 1990: 85x 2000: 531x Pay not tied to performance Pay for Performance? CEO Pay Stock Company Years (Cumul.) vs. S&P Bank of America ’96-00 $96m -34% Sprint ’96-00 $218m -34% Conseco ’95-99 $146 -50% Functionalism vs. Neofunctionalism Problem-solving Structural differentiation Systems Culture In-Class Writing According to Colomy and Greiner, why was the Youth Offender System (YOS) created in Colorado in 1993? How does their neofunctionalist explanation differ from a functionalist explanation of the creation of YOS? Class Discussion What are the competing views of how to handle these cases? Who expresses these views? Do the filmmakers have a clear point of view? What are your opinions on how these kinds of offenders should be handled?
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