Functionalism Theory

Individuals view themselves in light of the past and present happenings to explain the positions they hold in social classes, kinds of jobs, income earned or education levels. They believe that the occurrence of one thing, say the death of a family breadwinner, leads to another,i.e., the struggle for the kids to obtain regular schooling. To further explain this, such a struggle may cause the children to drop out and seek informal employment. They would then be earning minimum wages and therefore maintain a thin network of friends in similar positions. ). It queries how one component relates to another based on whether they result in a dysfunctional or functional state of society. The following paper will delve into factual situations of the functionality theory in practice. The basis of all of this is my parents but may go on to feature neighborhoods that I’ve observed and people with whom I have interacted. Based on the experiences recorded therein, I believe that the functionalism theory is correct.

The functionality theory of sociology views the societal complex as a whole compromising of different units that influence one another (Understanding Social Problems 2007. The units push each other so that a particular component, gives rise to another one and vice versa. By so doing, agendas within the community are furthered or achieved as a result of this ‘working together’ (Understanding Social Problems 2007). The influence may bring about either the desired effect or a negative one, e.g., while healthcare may be affordable to others because of undercharges, its quality could be wanting due to rolling out of generic drugs, etc.


My experiences

My folks would fall in the middle-class category as both have jobs as elementary teachers which bring in a decent amount of income into the family. At the period of their learning, education was not too specialized or expensive as it is now. Moreover, having achieved decent grades in a post, high school education would pretty much land you an entry-level position within esteemed institutions. The functionalism theory ideas are displayed here such that their absorption was possible because the requirements at that time suited them.

Over the years what mattered most is banking on the experience one had gained in practice rather than furthering their education in a tertiary institution. As a result of this and their hard work and savings, I was able to school in privately managed institutions that are universally acknowledged to perform better, academically.

In the early ages, i.e., below five, making friends was easy. I think because when younger children find it refreshing to be associated with someone’s whose parents work within the school. Maybe it comes about as a result of wanting to show off. However as my siblings and I aged; this easiness quickly wore off especially in pre-teen and teenage years. I believe this came about because association with us would mean association to the ‘system’ and its rules and many at this time identified as rebellious kids. On more occasions than I would care to admit, I did not appreciate the association either. Many of the friendships that were endured the long stretch were with the best-performing students. It was also important to maintain such company so that grades don’t flack. The cool kids that would spend their free time in movie theatres and road trips were friends because of what they had in common as well.

One of the reasons to which I would attribute my excellent performance in school would be that my parents were harder on me than other students in school. It is an expected phenomenon that I’ve heard experience from other individuals who at one time schooled where their parents taught. It as effective in my case because I scored well enough to get into college but parents also ought to learn and encourage their children with their talents such as swimming etc. Those who were underachievers in academics especially felt that they were put down.

Accreditation from a tertiary institution is essential now and pretty much guarantees a job with a sustainable gross income. As one advances in their field, they become eligible for promotions to higher job group levels and receive better pay as a result. From observation, individuals with a higher income have a full circle of friends also at the same level who they have established as contacts /networks. People also want to be associated with those of affluence rather than struggle.


The precepts of the functional theory are applicable in daily living and interactions with others gauging by the experiences I have had and observations as well.




Understanding Social Problems. (2007). [Ebook] (5th ed., pp. 1-2). Retrieved from