Functionalist and the Social Constructivist Perspectives of Knowledge 

The functionalist perspective looks at society as a complex system working towards the betterment of it. The functionalist perspective of knowledge is one’s learning based on values, norms, customs, traditions, and beliefs in society. Functionalism is focused on the easy way how society works and how it can keep improving. This theory looks at every aspect of society to meet the basic needs of the people in society.

In the Social Constructivist Perspective, people acquire knowledge by interacting with other people in society. The social constructivist perspective is when a person interprets, relates, and takes in new information with the knowledge gained before and uses the new information to solve problems. It is an active process where information is gathered and new ideas are formed with relation to past knowledge and current knowledge. This perspective believes the key factor in learning is the knowledge one has already acquired. An individual’s knowledge can be increased or expanded by communicating and sharing thoughts with other people

The Functionalist Perspective of Knowledge

  • The functionalist perspective is the knowledge acquired by understanding how society works.
  • Society plays a crucial role in providing knowledge to human beings.
  • How society functions, how society can be improved, how one is expected to behave in society is functionalism.
  • The everyday circumstances one faces in society teach an individual how to overcome challenges and solve problems.
  • This leads one to be a good decision maker and problem solver by the experiences and teachings they receive by being a part of the society.
  • The beliefs, values, and norms one follows or believes are essential in helping him/her acquire knowledge.

The Social Constructivist Perspective of Knowledge

  • According to social constructivism, individuals acquire knowledge by interacting within society.
  • It is the learnings and experiences one gets by connecting and interacting with other people.
  • Conversations or discussions between two or more people can lead to acquiring new knowledge for everyone, knowingly or unknowingly.
  • Exchanging ideas and opinions by interacting with people increases one’s knowledge or expands the knowledge already known.
  • In Social Constructivist Perspective, knowledge is shared rather than just kept with oneself.
  • A person should actively participate in the activities of society to gain knowledge and know oneself.