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The Functionalist Perspective
In this perspective a society is seen as an organized network of cooperating groups operating in a fairly orderly manner according to a set of rules and values shared by most members. Society is seen as a stable system with a tendency toward equilibrium, that is, a tendency to maintain a balanced, harmoniously operating system. In the functionalist perspective, with Alcott Parsons [1937], Kingsley Davis [1937], and Robert Merton [1957] as the most prominent spokesmen, each group or institution fulfills certain functions and persists because it is functional.

Thus, the school educates children, prepares workers, takes children off their parents' hands for part of the day, and provides spectator sports events for the community, among other things.Behavior patterns arise because they are  functionally useful. On the American frontier where there were few inns and fewer people with money for them, a hospitality pattern developed. The traveling family were welcome guests of the nearest settlers wherever night fell upon them. the travelers brought news and a break in monotony the host provided food and shelter. As the frontier became settled, the hospitality pattern became unnecessary and it declined. Thus patterns arise to meet needs and pass when the needs change.

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