Functionalist Theory Of Online Dating

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The practice of online dating has become an increasingly popular and acceptable method of dating in modern society and looking at this social behavior from the perspective of a functionalist and a symbolic interactionist would involve very different focuses. A functionalist would take a macro or large picture approach to this, looking at how this new phenomenon fits into our society. The focus would be on how this relates to other institutions and how it contributes to stability and balance in society, for if it disrupted the functioning of institutions or society in general, it would not continue to be a plausible form of dating, as the general principle of functionalism is that all of society’s institutions must work together. The increased…show more content…
The manifest function, or intended consequence, of dating in general and online dating, is to find a partner. There are also latent functions, or unintended consequences, that can result from online dating such as forming friendships, involvement in new social groups, or determining a ‘type’ of person you are interested in. There could also be potential latent dysfunctions in online dating, meaning the unintended consequences that actually have a negative impact on society. This could be the fact that people online can be very deceitful about who they really are and has resulted in another platform for crime and criminal activity to take root in society. There are sexual predators and pedophiles that use these sites to lure their unknowing…show more content…
The first principle being that people react to things on the basis of the meanings they have for them. To begin to determine the meanings people have for online dating, it would be helpful to look at the type of sites they are searching on, joining and essentially advertising themselves on. Someone who frequents a site like ‘match.com’ likely has very different meanings and intentions in regards to online dating than someone on a site like ‘Ashley Madison’ where the goal is simply to have an affair. In Blumer’s second step, where people derive meaning from their social interactions, sociologists might look at the type of social interactions between peers both online and off. They could be engaging in this activity because they know other people who have been successful, or maybe they have simply been unsuccessful through conventional routes. Maybe they feel the need to find someone because their friends are in relationships and they have a desire to fit in utilizing whatever means necessary. The third step is an interpretive process; that is the person takes everything they have learned about the meanings tied to online dating and adds their own interpretation to it. Maybe someone interprets online dating as simply the only way to get a date now, or maybe their interpretation is that it’s one of many methods used to try to to meet

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