SOC 280 Functionalism Theory in Sociology
A virtual environment is an online environment where things
can be posted, participated in, and manipulated by the users. Virtual
environments encompass things like virtual reality, multi-user games, shared
communities or similar. When you
complete this week’s assignment, think about what virtual environments you
spend time in. Below are some links to examples of virtual reality
Oculus Rift: Next generation virtual reality
HoloLens: Holographic computer that allows you to interact
Active Worlds: Users create their own worlds and custom 3D
Write a 2- to 3-page paper in APA format that describes the
pros and cons of this type of environment. Make sure to include the following
information within your paper.
Describe what virtual environments you use (e.g., World of
Warcraft, fantasy football, Second Life).
Share how long you spend in these environments. Fun fact:
The average American spends nearly eight hours a day staring at screens
(computer, phone, TV, etc.).
Is new virtual reality technology, such as Oculus Rift, the
same as an environment such as Fantasy Football or Facebook? Why or why not?
How might you apply the functionalism theory to explain the
virtual environment experience for someone with social anxiety issues?
Include how each of the perspectives explains the concept of
virtual reality/environments. Try to view the problem from each perspective by
asking the kinds of questions a theorist would ask if they were a
functionalist, conflict theorist, or symbolic interactionist. For this this
assignment, you could ask yourself:
What is the function of virtual reality/environment? What
role does this play in our culture? (Functionalism)
What conflicts arise because of virtual
reality/environments? How do you feel about the technology gap? Is there
inequality present? (Conflict theory)
What does virtual reality/environment mean to us as a
society? When we interact on the Internet, explore virtual environments, and
make connections online, what do these relationships mean? (Symbolic
An introduction to Functionalism for AS and A level sociology – covering the basic key ideas of Functionalist thinkers Durkheim and Parsons – social facts, social solidarity, and anomie, the organic analogy, and the importance of socialisation.
Functionalism is a ‘structural-consensus theory’.
The ‘structural bit’ means that Functionalists argue that there is a social structure that shapes individual behaviour through the process of socialisation.
The ‘consensus bit’ means that Functionalists believe that a successful society is based on ‘value consensus’ – people agree around a set of shared norms and values. This value consensus enables people to co-operate and to work together to achieve shared goals.