RE: What do functionalists see as the functions of culture?
Well the functions of culture is a simple questions to answer if you think about your own life. In the American culture when you are born you are so cute and cuddly. You go through elementary school and most of the way through you have friends and don’t care so much about popularity. Then middle school you start caring because puberty hits and you want to feel important. High school hits and every action you take makes a significant change in your social life. In the American culture, popularity is everything, but then again it is in every culture, but in different ways. If you think of it more like high school it’s easier to understand because most people remember high school the best.
Your first day of school at high school is scary. This is called integration. The first week of high school you start forming friendships through shared interpretations. Pretty much you and your friends think alike on certain subjects, mostly the subjects that matter most to you. Throughout high school depending on how your high school works, depends on who is popular. IE, if you have a good football team, typically the athletes are more popular in school. If your school is famous for having intelligent students, it’s the smart kids. Towards the end of high school, most people just want to get out and be on their own, others are too afraid to be on their own, so they go to college on mommy and daddy’s dime. Some move far away and some stay and go to the community college in their town. With the function of high school, depending on how it works, athlete prominence or brain prominence, will depend on who the main body chooses as its leader. Sometimes it’s the captain of the football team, others it’s the school genius. It’s different in all kinds of situations.
In Afghanistan, to be a prominent figure, you have to do something that means a lot to the local people. Right now, Americans are prominent figures because we are there trying to help them get away from an extremist government. We are also giving them jobs, but it wasn’t easy to get there. First, we had to come in and get the trust of some important people. Then continue showing the rest of the people we were there for good rather than bad, which we are still trying to prove. We gave them jobs making more money than they could ever imagine. To burn trash, they make $20 to $40 a week American money. That’s a lot of Afghan money. The Afghan culture doesn’t run off of smart people who are elected into power, it’s more along the lines of smart people who create fear in their own people.
So, when you ask “what are the functions of culture?” I tell you to think of high school and how it felt from day 1 until the end, and how you remember everything that was happening around you and why.