This paper will examine the evolution of structural or functionalism theory in order to truck its ancestry over time. For this paper, Herbert Spencer has been selected as the main influence on other theorists in structural functionalism. The ideas presented by Spencer in Principles of Sociology (1874) formed the basis for many theorists such as Émile Durkheim who later influenced other theorist. In his publication, Spencer used the analogy of the human body and its different organs to show how society is made up of structures that help it survive. Émile Durkheim supported Herbert Spencer’s ideas by theorizing that society was made up of different organizations that help to ensure social order was maintained. In his publication The Division of Labor in Society (1893), he introduced the concept of two forms of structure in society that helped to maintain social order.
Talcott Parson’s action theory was influenced highly by Émile Durkheim’s previous work. However, in his action theory, published in The Structure of Social Action (1937), Parson argued that the structure of society was high reliant on the actions of individuals within society. In addition, he proposed the idea that society is made up of complimenting roles that support each other. In his opinion, this helped to ensure social order. Anthony Giddens was opposed to the ideas presented by Talcott. In his publication, the consequences of modernity(1991), he was of the idea that theorist such as Talcott and Durkheim were more concerned about the problem of order in society. He argues that social order is not automatic but rather is because of planned social actions.
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