Instant Access to the Journals you Need

Read Online + Print Articles, for just $40 a month.

Start Your Free Trial

The Concept of 'Function' and Functional Analysis in Sociology

The Concept of 'Function' and Functional Analysis in Sociology


The Concept of 'Function' and Functional Analysis in Sociology SAGE Publications, Inc.1976DOI: 10.1177/004839317600600301 Peter A.Munch Sociology, Southern Illinois University INTRODUCTION Almost from its inception, the 'functional analysis' of human society has been plagued with the ambiguities of the term 'function'. As Durkheim adopted the concept to discuss what he called 'the function of the division of labor', he felt compelled to explain in which of 'two quite different senses' he would be using the term ([1893] 1933, pp. 49f.), and Radcliffe-Brown, another champion of a 'functionalist' approach to the study of human society, sighed over the 'very great number of different meanings' attached to the word (1952, pp. 178- 87). The situation has not improved over the years. Approaching the field of functional analysis in sociology today is like entering a veritable jungle of semantic confusion. It is indeed a question worth considering whether one should agree with Kingsley Davis (1959), in his Presidential Address to the American Sociological Association over a decade ago, and simply abandon the whole approach of functional analysis in sociology, or whether one should take the more optimistic view of Robert Merton (1968, p. 73), who still seems to regard functional analysis as
Loading next page...

You're reading a free preview. Subscribe to read or print the entire article.

And millions more from thousands of peer-reviewed journals, for just $40/month.

Start Your Free Trial

What content is in DeepDyve?

  • Read and share from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from Springer, Elsevier, Nature, IEEE, Wiley-Blackwell and more.
  • All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

Rent Scholarly Articles?

  • Read the full article in your browser.
  • Each month you can print 20 pages for free.
  • Access all of your rentals from the cloud anywhere you have an internet connection.
  • Beautiful reading experience – Full charts and figures, just like the PDF.
  • Read as much as you'd like - whenever you'd like.

Happy Users

“In one word renting from DeepDyve is FANTASTIC!!! ... 99% of the time I only need access to an article for a month or so, so renting the articles is perfect for me.”

Adam S.

“Thanks for a great service! For an unaffiliated science blogger like myself this is like a dream come true.”

Seppo P.

“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”

Daniel C.

“Let me seize this opportunity and congratulate you on the service you are rendering to the scientific community.”

Joao B.