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Each part (social institutions) of society is functional for the stability of the whole.



First one to talk about society as machine, while made up of different parts. Thought that there is a tendency in modern societies towards anomie, which come with consequences (suicide, crime). Conservative sociologist because he thought the only way to bring the crime rate down is to reimpose collective values.


Strain Theory

Rooted in functionalism and is associated with Emile Durkheim’s theory of anomie.


Merton’s Anomie Theory of Deviance

A strain theory examining the various adaptations (remember Jimmy).


Who is strain theory associated with?

Durkheim and his theory of anomie.


Strain theories are an ___ of structural functionalism.



What are the two parts of strain theory?

* People are deviant when they cannot achieve societal goals.
* This leads to strain between your goal and how you an achieve that goal. The bigger the gap, the more likely crime is to occur.


How is fame treated in the West?

* Fame, recognition, and celebrity as a status becomes self-evident virtues. Firmly entrenched in our society.
* Fame eclipsing notion of personal economic success. Few avenues of grabbing a hold of that dream.


How has the conception of strain theory changed?

Strain was typically applied to lower-class people. However, scholars have reinterpreted his work and applied it to numerous areas, including people we don’t typically see as disadvantaged.


Merton says that society tells us that:

* All individuals should aspire to lofty goals. We should be the best we can be. These goals are in reach. If we try hard enough, we can be successful.
* Personal failure in the present is only a way station to success.
* Real failure means that there is something wrong with you. You are giving up, you have no ambition.


Fame and accomplishments were associated more in past times. True or false?



The eligibility for fame was quite slim in the past. True or false?



What makes fame meaningful?

It is rare.


Limitations of functionalism:

* Gives far too much weight to integration and consensus. Takes a consensus view of norms.
* Concerned with the maintenance or continuation of social order in society.
* Society is not like an organism or machine.



Scales down goal so their aspirations can be more easily fulfilled. Sometimes just go through motions. Might become willing to adopt material lifestyle. Deviant because they have given up on goals we are all supposed to be pursuing. It’s good enough kind of person. Scaled down, simple brush to pseudo fame could be worthwhile. Limited interest in celebrity seeking can be seen in fairs, carnivals, and amusement parks. Dressing up. Settling for carnival circuit instead of Hollywood.


What is the contradiction in the consensus view of norms?

Thinks that everyone shares same values, even when they also recognize that a minority of us do not.



When means and goals are rendered arbitrary. Seek transformation of society. See all of it as illegitimate. Every revolution begins this way. Gets caught up in larger social political revolution. Seattle protests in 1999. Occupy movement. Personified rebellion, were challenging the legitimacy of the economic structures that gave rise to celebrity culture and the desire for fame.



Rather than rebelling, people try to escape from the system and the structure. For Merton, retreatists were societal dropouts. Drug dealers and users. Some scholars have argued that what characterizes retreatists is a desire for anonymity. Peculiarity is derived from their unwillingness to accept level of celebrity status. Pathologizing unreasonable fears of social interaction. Dating, crowded room, public speaking. Fear of public speaking is seen as something that is “broken.” Comes from the idea that the ability to perform is a worthy trait. Social normality is return to the stage, not retreatism.


Merton thought that society was more ___ than it actually is.



How is a society not like an organism or machine?

Parts of the system can change without destroying the whole.


True or false? All institutions are functional for all people.

* Parts of the system can change without destroying the whole.
* What about people who are in abusive families? Not functional for them. Various institutions are only functional for certain people.


False teleology limitation of functionalism:

To say that a cultural trait exists because of its consequences it to confuse cause and effect.


How is functionalism not equally applied among classes?

Functionalism tends to overemphasize crime and deviance as a lower-class phenomenon.