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Structural Functionalism

The combination of functionalism and structuralism represents a theoretical orientation that integrates a series of concepts such as function and structure, competition, and reproduction, with a value emphasis such as adaptation, fitness, selection, stability, and survival. Influential in the social sciences in the 1940s and 1950s, structural functionalism has its nineteenthcentury origins in a neosocial Darwinian, organic, and evolutionist conception of society that came to dominate the disciplines of sociology and social anthropology in the United States and western Europe.

Among the most prominent intellectual progenitors are Auguste Comte (1798–1857), Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), William Sumner (1840–1910), and Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) in sociology; and A. R. Radcliffe-Brown (1881–1955), Bronislaw Malinowski (1884–1942), and E. E. Evans-Pritchard (1902–1973) in anthropology. Their work, in turn, influenced the research-oriented structural ...

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