Course Content
Survival of the Fittest
Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer
Moral Actions – Spencer
Types of Cooperation – Herbert Spencer
Critique of Communism and Socialism
Society as a Thing – Spencer and Realism
Comparative-Historical Method
Value Free Sociology of Spencer
Criticism of Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer
    About Lesson

    Structural and Functional evolution of society

    A rise in structure goes hand in hand with an increase in society’s size. A structure is “an organization,” according to Spencer. Greater differentiation and parts difference are required as size increases. Spencer claimed that a civilization must also become complicated to become enormous. In a broader sense, he argued that all social structures result from mass specializations among relatively homogeneous populations.

    The appearance of one or more individuals claiming and exercising power marks the first differentiation. The separation of society’s regulating and supporting structures comes next, not long after. At this early stage, the regulative structure is tied to military actions, while economic activities that support the group are linked to the sustaining structures.

    Initially, this differentiation is strongly related to how men and women divide their work, with males managing the regulating structures like the military and women dealing with the sustaining structures. Each of these structures receives additional differentiation as society develops; for instance, the regulatory agency adopts a system of monarchs, local tyrants, petty chiefs, and so forth. Then, social class distinctions occur when the military, the priesthood, and the slave classes form. Each social class is further subdivided; the priestly class, for instance, gives rise to sorcerers, priests, diviners, and exorcists. Overall, structural complexity and differentiation are rising in society.

    Increased structural differentiation is complemented by rising functional differentiation. A structure’s “need met” is referred to as its function. According to Spencer, structural changes are impossible to achieve without functional structures. In a broader sense, he said that understanding structures requires a comprehensive understanding of their functions or the demands they are designed to meet.

    The many facets of society may carry out one another’s duties reasonably homogeneously. As a result, in a prehistoric civilization, the male fighters could cultivate food, while the women could engage in combat if required. However, as society becomes more structurally complicated, it becomes harder for highly specialized sections to carry out one another’s tasks.

    Both structural and functional improvement are products of evolution. However, every component is more constrained in its office and performs better as the organization progresses. The ability to exchange benefits increases and everyone helps everyone else more effectively. The whole social life, also known as social engagement, grows.

    Stratification and functional specialization are two separate processes that Spencer believed are involved in the process of civilizations becoming increasingly specialized. A “ruling agency”—a ruling class or elite—is isolated from the general population via stratification.

    Gender-based early stratification institutionalizes differences between dominant males and subordinate women. Gender differentiation is linked with variations in economic and political resources as societies grow more complex and class structures become more intricate.

    Functional specialization refers to the differentiation of civilizations into several systems or areas of activity focused on specific tasks. The main functional realms in every fully diversified society are domestic, ceremonial, political, economic, religious, professional, and industrial institutions. However, they are linked together to form more extensive functional systems or “organs,” each having varying degrees of cohesiveness and stability.

    Sociology Plus