Sociological Perspectives || Functionalism as a Tool for Social Change

Jan 29, 2023



Sociological Pespectives :- Assignment's Instructions


From this week’s readings, we will understand what sociological perspective is and its three main theoretical foundations (functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism).

Which perspective do you think might primarily drive or bring about social change, and why? 

Elaborate on your response by incorporating the materials from the readings.



GSOC 101: Discussion 1 Answer 


Social perspective

Social perspective explains how human behavior is shaped by which group they belong to and the interaction that takes place in these groups. As much as human beings have the ability to can either conform to certain rules or have an independent stream of thought or way of life, we are limited to society’s standards and expectations. (Berger,1963). We depend on society’s structure for peaceful co existent.  This concept can be seen in a country’s constitution. The constitution borrows from the different groups or societies e.g., Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and assimilates them into one document i.e., the constitution, which directs on how each of these groups would co-exist. Social perspective investigates the cause and action of individuals if a pattern is present and further places them in categories. With this objective in mind, several social perspectives have been developed, but three in particular stand out. These include functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism. They all discuss on motives that would bring about social change. 

Functionalism as a tool for Social Change

Each perspective explains how social change may come about by examining social forces and human behavior. Functionalism also called structural functionalism serves as a thought school where each component that makes a society has a purpose and is essential for the system to function. If one element of the social structure changes friction arises and a change is required in other elements of the system. (Robertson, 1981) Symbolic interactionism perspective on the other hand places great importance in symbols and methods in which society communicates.Communication and the exchange of meaning through words and symbols are thought to be the method by which humans comprehend their social environment. Conversations are symbolic exchanges between people in the same social environment.Finally, Conflict theory concludes the social perspectives. Conflict theory argues that when resources or assets are unfairly distributed across sections of the society dispute arises hence this conflict causes social change. All of these theories in social perspective explain the various ways that may bring about social change by observing the different pattern changes. (Robertson,1981)

Functionalism would be the best perspective to initiate social change. It perceives social change as an adaptive reaction to some of society’s difficulties.Change however is a constant factor in the human social aspect. Social circles change, people change organizations new problems arise. Change is adapted to mitigate any friction in the system and ensure the continuity or smooth running of the system.






I. Robertson, Sociology NY: Worth Pub. (1981). https://

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