Confidence in Institutions
Functionalists assume that a healthy society will show strong support for the society's social institutions-a consensus upon existing
During this period, has public confidence in key institutions risen fallen or shoo clear trend?
institutions. Conflict theorists feel that such a "consensus" may conceal grave injustices and may serve to lend moral approval to exploitative practices. For better or worse, consensus upon institutions is a sign of cultural stability while a low level of "confidence in existing institutions" is a symptom of approaching change. As shown in Table 9-2, the-American people's confidence in American institutions fluctuates. The level of confidence may be taken as a crude measure of general contentment. It is not known just how low the levels of confidence can fall without bunging major changes, perhaps revolutionary changes. And whether such changes would be "corrective" - or "disruptive" depends upon one's own perspective.