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Sociology: Manifest and Latent Functions

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A large topic in sociology is the concept of manifest and latent functions; a manifest function is simply the known or anticipated results of an action, while a latent function is the unknown (at the time) and unanticipated results of the action (Macionis, 2013, pg. 13). To make it really simple say I ate twelve cookies. Why? Because I like the flavor and expect them to taste yummy (manifest function), but I did not intend on getting a stomach ache afterwards (latent function). There are manifest and latent functions for everything that we do in life, but what are the manifest and latent functions for taking Introduction to Sociology with Dr. Weber at 10:05 A.M. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until February?

For me personally I believe that there are more latent functions than manifest functions for taking this sociology course, but I still have several manifest functions. I intended to take all of my classes this semester (Winter 2014) with Evan. This semester is his last semester before he graduates, and we wanted to be together all the time, having every class together. I know that there are some latent functions involved with that (but I’ll talk about those later). Evan and I are going to be married shortly after this course ends, and we love doing everything together; being able to take this class together was definitely a manifest function.

I need sociology before I take the MCAT next year. The test is completely changing and new topics have been added into the standard test to get into med school – sociology is now about thirty questions of that test, so a basic knowledge of the course is necessary. I took this class for other reasons as well, one being that the course is only eight weeks instead of a whole semeste...

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... tend to stress out a lot when I wait until the last minute to study for a test or a quiz, which in turn does not allow me to study effectively, and hardly any information is retained when I study only the night before a test or the day of a quiz. I don’t intend on getting into any arguments or become frustrated, but sometimes I still end up getting that way.

The concept of manifest and latent functions is very interesting. A person can have any number of manifest functions for doing something and any number of latent functions. Everything has anticipated and unanticipated consequences for actions whether positive or negative. By knowing this and thinking about both ends of a decision (saying I do this) will end up helping me out in the long run.

Works Cited

Macionis, J. J. (2013). Society: the basics (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
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