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The Usefulness of the Analogy Between Society and a Biological Organism

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The Usefulness of the Analogy Between Society and a Biological Organism One set of sociologist that use the Biological or Organic analogy of societies are the Functionalists. Functionalism first emerged in Europe in the 19th Century. The French sociologist Emile Durkheim was the most influential of all the early functionalists. The theory became the dominant theoretical perspective in the 1940's and 1950. The functionalist theory is that within society there are many small parts that have to work together to maintain the society. I will be assessing how useful this analogy is to show the likeness between society and a biological organism. The functionalists argue that society can be described by using the biological analogy as a model. The key points can be summarized by a comparison drawn from biology. If biologists wanted to know how an organism such as the human body worked, they might begin by examining various parts such as the brain, heart, lungs and liver. However they would be unable to determine how life was maintained if they studied the various organs in isolation from each other. To discover how life was maintained they must examine the organs in relation to each other because they work together to maintain the organism. Functionalists adopt this perspective. The various "organs" of society are seen to be interrelated to form a complete system e.g. Structure and Function In biology the human body's structure is governed by the skeletal structure of the body. The function of the skeletal system holds up the body into a form and also provides restrictions of mov... ... middle of paper ... ...the consideration of power and who has it. Functionalist, of course agree with it as their theory of the causes and effects of the various parts and functions that maintain the system. In conclusion I believe that the usefulness of the biological analogy is very useful because the logic behind it is just in that the system does need the organs to work together in order to produce social harmony. It explains how the different functions are related to society in their jobs and how they are related to the biological functions e.g. the function of the skeletal system holds up the body into a form and also provides restrictions of movement. In relation to society the values are this skeletal system and the norms and roles are the ligaments and joints, providing flexibility, as I mentioned previously.
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