Robert K. Merton increased our understanding of social functions by presenting a concept that suggest while many social functions are clearly obvious and additionally intended; others are unclear and unintended. Manifest functions are the known or recognized and also intended consequences of any type of social pattern while the latent functions are those who are unclear or unrecognized and have unintended consequences. For the purpose of analyzing the manifest functions of any type of social institution, it is necessary to study its contribution to the continuation of a group, community, or society. We recognize several intended consequences of various social institutions for the operation of society as a whole. To help illustrate manifest functions the use religion and education as examples will be used to deconstruct this concept.
First, the failure to distinguish between function and motives is one of the chief sources of confusion for students of functionalism. Functions are observed consequences that cause adjustment within a social system. Motive, on the other hand, is the subjective orientation of the actor engaged in the behavior under observation. However, one must understand that the two are often (though not always) very different.
“Manifest functions are those objective consequences contributing to the adjustment or adaptation of the system that are intended and clearly recognized by the participants in the system in question; Latent functions, correlatively, being those which are neither intended nor recognized”. With the addition of these two terms, as well as the term “dysfunction,” the functional analyst is equipped to explore the critically important area of the unintended consequ...
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... proximity as a result of relative deprivation, or a sense of social injustice. Agnew’s general strain theory focuses on the micro-level and suggests that crime results from negative affective states produced by a variety of sources of strain including the disjunction between expectations and achievements, the removal of positively valued stimuli, or the presentation of negative stimuli.
In conclusion, the strain theory holds that crime is a function of the conflict between the goals people have and the means they can use to obtain them legally. Merton argues that people will adapt to discrepancies between goals and means through the use of conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism, and rebellion. Cultural deviance theory combines elements of both strain and social disorganization, claiming that unique lower-class cultures develop in disorganized neighborhoods.
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