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Structural functionalism is the on the opposite end of a philosophical spectrum from conflict theory. They believe in personal responsibility and that education provides the best means for social mobility. For example, a structural functionalist would believe the following about the following major social institutions:

Family: socializes children and parents; provides affection and emotional support; regulates sexual behavior; gives legal status and social approval to parenthood and reproduction; helps determine social placement; "instrumental" (men) and "expressive" (women) role performance create efficient division of labor

Religion: preserves and solidifies society; creates a community of believers; reinforces social norms and social control; answers ultimate questions about the world; promotes social change

Education: "manifest functions" - teaches skills; teaches values of society; selects and develops talented individuals; transmits new behavior skills, ideas, etc.; "latent functions" - prolongs adolescence; establishes age segregation; acts as a babysitter

Politics: reflects common social values; established to protect and encourage societies values (esp. political pluralist)

Economy: reflects social values; works to meet basic social and material needs of people.

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