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What are the major features of functionalism? How different is functionalism from the conflict perspective in the explanation of societal makeup?

Functionalists hold that society is a series of parts and components that work together to keep society functioning and in a state of balance, as if society is a machine. Functionalists emphasize that society's institutions are deeply interconnected. Conflict theory, on the other hand, maintains that society mainly consists of a struggle between two classes, the upper wealthy class and the lower working class, and does not see society as a system of parts.

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Functionalist and conflict perspectives are two major sociological views of the world in which we live. They are both theories about and predictors of human societal phenomena. We will consider each perspective separately.

Functionalism is basically a general theory about the nature of mental states. It concerns itself with the function of things or what things can do, rather than the make-up of substances. This theory is closely akin to dualism, or the mind-body problem in philosophy and its opposite concept of materialism . Dualism is a view of the thinking process in which the body and the mind are independent, but work together. In other words, the brain might house our thoughts, but thinking is not the brain itself. They function separately, like the body and the soul do, for example. Materialism views just a body, not an inner soul, but the body, more particularly the brain, has mental aspects. Thus, if a person dies, dualists believe the mind continues on, whereas materialists believe...

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