Two articles are critiqued as a part of a research study, the major hypothesis of which is that the frequency of child abuse behavior by adults varies in relation to specific environmental, family, and individual factors. The two articles critiqued are among the references cited in the study.
ARTICLE CRITIQUED FROM A FUNCTIONALIST PERSPECTIVE
Arbetter, S. (1995, November). Family violence: When we hurt the ones we love. Current Health 2, 22(3), 6-12.
The functionalist, or social systems, approach to the explanation of social behavior focuses on the organizational structure of social life (social construction) while the interactionist paradigm focuses on social life as a process of interactions among individuals within a social system (Babbie, 1992). The major difference between these models is the significance accorded in them to social influence. The social constructionist model accords the greatest level of importance to social influence. This functionalist theoretical paradigm holds that individual behavior is a function of the way a society is put togetherùbecause of the structure, specific behaviors are promoted or facilitated (Babbie, 1992). The functionalist approach to psychological inquiry, thus, focuses on actual behavior as opposed to the structural emphasis on mental processes.
The social constructionist model posits that biological sensations have no causative role in the creation of emotions (Hochschild, 1990). Feeling, according to the social constructionist model, "is entirely constituted by social influences" (Hochschild, 1990, p. 120). Thus, the functional structure of a social system explains the social actions within that system. With respect to the use of violence to settle disputes, as an example, one functionalist explanation would be that the complex structure of contemporary society makes it difficult for people to make value judgments about the behavior.
This article notes that the ove...