What Is Functionalist Theory?

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The functionalist theory argues that every piece of society is interdependent and contributes to the functioning of society as a whole unit. If the functionalist theory is correct and everyone understands how each segment functions within the unit of society, then it breeds stability, prosperity, order and productivity. If a society is a functionalist society and the theory fails, then the society is either doomed to fall into chaos or the members of the society must quickly adapt to regain the order, stability and productivity of the society.

Under the functionalist theory, the government relies on the success of students and vice versa. Basically, the government provides an education for the students through the public school system. Because parents rely on this system to educate their children so that they can become successful adults, they pay taxes to the government. When the students learn through their government-provided education, they grow up to be responsible adults, respected members of society and, more importantly, tax-paying citizens. The government relies on taxes in order to function, so it is in the government’s best interests to make sure that students are properly educated so that they can get a good job and pay their taxes to keep the government running. It is in the students’ best interests to take advantage of the government-funded education to be able to earn gainful employment to help provide for themselves and their families as adults, even if they have to pay taxes to the government.