R. K. Merton's concepts of function and functionalism

Inquiry 9 (1-4):274 – 283 (1966)
Abstract
In this paper an attempt is made to provide an analysis of the meaning of the term function and related terms as they are used by R. K. Merton in the first chapter of his book Social Theory and Social Structure. Several problems are suggested which must be solved if statements about functions are to be considered scientifically adequate. Secondly the term functionalism is defined and several of Merton's functionalist explanations of social phenomena are stated and criticized.
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