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 usage of this method of dating has become a large scale organized behavior or it simply would not work. The fact that so many people engage in this behavior, from all walks of life, is what makes it so functional in the social structure. Both men and women must be engaging in this behavior and in large numbers in order for it to work successfully. If only one gender or small numbers of people took part in it, many would not have success and it would fail to remain a viable option for finding a partner. Finding a partner and conforming to societal norms, institutionalized goals, continuous socialization of the self and possibly future children, are all incredibly functional in maintaining a stable society and online dating provides an additional and streamlined option to accomplish this. It has essentially rationalized the process of dating, making it more convenient, and efficient to find a partner so that citizens can then essentially take their place as a cog in the wheel of a well functio...
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...e use of symbols and gestures must revert to very specific use and interpretation of typed language lacking any inflection, though there is also the use of emoticons available online as a symbol of expression. The profile could also be considered a symbol as well, the symbol of the desire for a relationship, and people would interpret the meaning of that based on the site they are on. On Plenty of Fish, the profile is a symbol of availability and desire to find a partner, however in the case of an Ashley Madison profile, the expressed interest is in a sexual relationship with the intended meaning and shared consensus of secrecy and unavailability in terms of commitment.
These are just a few of the many ways this increasingly popular form of social interaction could be viewed by the two different sociological perspectives of functionalism and symbolic interactionism.
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