The functionalist theory of stratification: Two decades of controversy

Inquiry 9 (1-4):215 – 240 (1966)
Abstract
The author examines the 1945 and 1948 versions of the Davis-Moore functionalist theory of stratification. The analysis explores the basic postulates, assumptions, and logical articulation of the theory and isolates its distinctively functionalist components. This is followed by a historical account of the major criticisms leveled at the theory. The critics have succeeded in showing the fallacious and tautologous character of the functionalist components, thus, in effect, destroying the theory as a theory. Despite this destruction, various portions of the Davis-Moore theory are shown to be usable, to contain valuable insights, and to be capable of further development.
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