Analyzing Social Change Through Functionalism, Conflict Theory, and Punctuated Equilibrium

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Albert Einstein said it best, “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them” - Albert Einstein(58 Quotes). Social change is an opportunity for positive growth in today’s world, however it may sometimes take a tragedy to get there. Many big events in history such as The French Revolution and the Civil Rights Movement have caused social change, but our world is stronger because of those events. It takes leadership and a desire for growth to make a positive change in today’s society. Many philosophers have theorized social change through functionalism, conflict theory, and punctuated equilibrium.

In the early twentieth century, Emile Durkheim along with the help of Talcott Parsons established the basis of the functionalist theory; known as the oldest yet still prominent theoretical perspective in sociology. “Functionalism can be summed up with one simple premise "the world is a system of interrelated parts, and each part makes a necessary contribution to the vitality of the system”(Functionalist Perspective of Sociology). Functionalists strive to explain the various parts of a society and their relationship through the organic analogy. The organic analogy refers to society as the organs of a living organism. These organs must be able to survive and function through a certain system much like that of a society. The functionalist view looks at society altogether as well as its interrelated parts and how they maintain the whole (Anthropological Theories).

Criticism of functionalism began in the ‘1970s’. “Functional theory also has been criticized for its disregard of the historical process and for its presupposition that societies are in a state of equilibrium” (qtd. in...

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