Some Functional Aspects of Violence
Sigler, Jeanne Lee
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This paper shall explore those areas in which social theorists have found violence to be functional to a healthy society. The main focus will be on the works of Lewis A. Coser, one of the foremost theorists in the field of social conflict. His book, Continuities in the Field of Social Conflict, is especially pertinent, for it is only a few years old and many portions are relevant to the study of violence in 1969. The first sections of this paper, then, will be devoted to a broad examination of functional violence within the basic framework of Dr. Coser's thought. It will seek to encompass as well other social thinkers whose works are useful to an understanding of the subject. The second section will explore the work of Frantz Fanon, a very recent advocate of revolutionary violence, and will relate his work to that of Coser. The discussion of Fanon will be followed by an inquiry into Robert Merton's theory of functional analysis. It is not only vital to understand this basic mode of interpretation, but it is also advantageous to apply it to the particular subject of violence. Special emphasis will be given Merton's paradigm for functional analysis in sociology, and his concept of manifest and latent functions. The final section of the paper will consist of my own reflections on violence--an attempt to evaluate violence as I perceive it after my reading and research this quarter.If you are not a current K College student, faculty, or staff member, email firstname.lastname@example.org to request access to this SIP.