What are the Principles, Strengths and Weaknesses of Structural Functionalism?

Structural Functionalism consists of (a) socialization, (b) social integration, (c) social placement, and (d) social and cultural innovation. This theory focuses on socialization to fulfill society’s several needs. It deals with teaching the values, norms, and beliefs to children.

Socializing is crucial for the existence of society. There would be no society without socialization. For society to exist, socialization is necessary. It enables individuals to play their roles in society. Socialization helps in the transfer of knowledge, values, culture, expected behaviour to the next generation and so on. It is also crucial in the development of an individual’s personality.

Principles of Structural Functionalism 

  • i). Make humans understand the societal norms and be aware of society’s expectations from them. 
  • ii). Transmit knowledge, values, culture, traditions, etc to the next generation and so on. 
  • iii). Help individuals to realize their interests, strengths, weaknesses and work towards it.
  • iv). Foster moral and ethical values in the children for the welfare of the society. 
  • v). Help individuals in understanding their roles and responsibilities in the society. 
  • vi). Enable individuals to take risks, make decisions and solve problems on their own.

Strengths of Structural Functionalism 

  • i). Meets both the individual and societal needs.
  • ii). It stresses on the importance of family in society. 
  • iii). It is a macro level structural theory. 
  • iv). Spreads values and norms to younger generations and so on. 
  • v). It shows that conflicts in society are minimized by socialization and social order. 

Weaknesses of Structural Functionalism 

  • i). It stresses only on the nuclear family and ignores other family structures. 
  • ii). The approach is too optimistic as it looks at family as always happy and harmonious. 
  • iii). It only focuses on the positive side of society and not the negative aspects. 

Socializing instills discipline, obedience, and responsibility in people. It allows one to know another person better as well as himself/herself. Through interacting with others one will realise what their interests are and work towards it. Individuals will put efforts in improving themselves which as a result will be beneficial for both the person and the society. Socializing will bring a sense of happiness in people and improve their well-being. People will understand societal norms and be aware of society’s expectations from them. Socialization will help society and people in the development of each other.