The Theory of Structural Functionalism, also simply called Functionalism, is a macrosociological theory that sees society as a system of interconnected parts. These parts are separate, but work together to maintain the homeostasis of society as a whole--comparable to how an organism’s organs work together to maintain homeostasis. There are two types of functions: manifest and latent. Manifest functions are the intended functions of a social system, while latent functions are unintended functions.
- (Structural) Functionalism
Social systems and societies are created by the balancing of different groups. Take the principals, teachers, lunch ladies, and students in a school. They each serve different functions, but come together to create a stable equilibrium. The created school system has the manifest or intended function of educating students, but also has the latent or unintended function of serving as free babysitting for parents.