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A Functionalist View On Poverty Sociology Essay

Around the Philippines itself, imagine searching through garbage, junks, rivers full of waste, rubbish and trash; imagine searching through dumps, or burrows along the streets, looking for food to satisfy unending hunger. Try to see the tragedy ‘Hanging Habagat’ has dealt on some parts or moreover on some poverty-living people in the Philippines? Look around you, look around the world you are living, many people faces the same situation as mentioned; hunger, thirst, unemployment – all because of poverty. What could have caused a situation like this to occur? Simple. Lack of education, poor health, and discrimination play a key role in causing poverty. Those causes can have an immense impact on countries, continents, and moreover the Philippines itself.

Defining the theory in my own view, functionalist/functionalism is very famous and by far one of the best-known sociological perspective used for understanding the realization of the society in which we live at present. Basically, functionalism affirms that almost everything; irrelevant, extraneous or distinct as it may seem, is essential to the overall utility – simply speaking, almost all things in the society has a purpose; more or less a certain and probable function; that everybody toils as one to help maintain the society to function in a pleasant and harmonious manner, or moreover abduct an equilibrium perspective.

The Functionalist view or Functionalism was established by Emile Durkheim, a great French Sociologist in the 18th-19th century and was expounded by great American sociologist, Talcott Parsons in the same century.

Searching through the net itself, you wouldn’t be able to search for probable perspectives that easily on Durkheim’s approach to the current social issue faced today by Filipinos, poverty. Why? Literally because poverty wasn’t something that he expounded on among social issues present today, unlike views on gender, race or probably deviance, Durkheim was able to address his perspectives on such. Try to see, was Durkheim able to write mere functionalist views in the Philippines itself? Was he able to express his ideas on how a functionalist perspective on poverty should be in vicinities such as Manila, Quezon City, Cebu and others? No, because Durkheim writes his view as a whole, and not by certain country represents. Well I guess choosing the topic itself was a total risk, but trying to deal with the topic helps us explore on new perspectives, new views and probably to explore beyond what we know at present; what the topic really tries to impose is for us to look at what Durkheim did with functionalism, or merely the functionalist perspective - what the certain perspective connotes and entails - and attempt to explore beyond from that perspective, what Durkheim, as a noticeably outstanding functionalist sociologist, would believe regarding poverty in the Philippines.

Functionalists see everything in society as having a function or probably a purpose. Just like parts of your body, hands function to touch or hold things, feet function to walk or run around, or ears function to hear everyday sounds. Poverty is no exemption, if it is a component of the society, it must have a probable function, but the question is, what is it? Poverty, according to Functionalists encompasses two main functions.

Motivates us to work harder than what we are probably doing at some point, let us say procrastination. If people wants to earn and achieve success, people should then know to manage everything and work as hard as they probably could. Working with sweat is much better than working with poverty, [ sabi nga ng mga Pilipino “kapag may tiyaga, may nilaga diba?”], and believe it or not; poverty remains a constant reminder to everyone, why? Who knows, maybe poverty is just right in front of you without knowing.

Another function that poverty creates is the process of giving out a factor of enjoyment, happiness and probably that feeling we’ve always wanted. [Some people lose, while some people gain.] As workers, or for me as college students who aspire great opportunities; we all need to be able to measure how well we are doing, how well we are getting, and also getting the reasonable feeling that “all this hard work is worth it”.

Putting yourself in some serious mindset, harmonious thinking would help you understand the whole perspective of poverty itself. It'll probably need some critical thinking or moreover deep analysis - but it's all well the worth. Basically, the question it wants us to perceive is: How does poverty come about and what purpose does poverty serve from a functionalist perspective?

In my own view, the way I understood things - from a functionalist perspective, poverty allows for the establishment of career professions or simply jobs itself - there Filipinos who specialize in providing services to individuals who live in poverty - like Filipinos working at the Departments and Governments, or Philippine NGO’s focusing on dispossessed and poverty-living individuals.  From the point itself, we could see that without the presence of poverty itself and poverty-living individuals, those who focus and serve them would probably live with careers or merely live under the world of unemployment.

Poverty as well, through assessment, drives one’s self-esteem.  When those who are in middle class(kumikita), lower-middle class(sapat), and upper class(mayayaman) are feeling down and out, they can scrutinize people living in poverty - people striving around corners, trying to make ends convene when the ends come nowhere close to one another - and can feel better about themselves.  In helping the poor Filipinos to avoid anguish and despair, poverty tries to be like a sort of medication for the society – ensuring social functions of those who are advanced on the economic stratification scale.

Another thing is, as I’ve mentioned above, poverty does motivate Filipinos to work harder than ever. When certain people stumble on the fact that they are already suffering either financially/economically, they experience stages of poverty and find such feeling of sorrow, or in other words they do not assess to enjoy such state; they see others existing in slums and filth, swimming through the floods the Filipinos have faced in various locations who aspire for 'better', and so, people who “has” then works harder, study harder – increasing the productivity to ensure that they stay out of poverty.

Poverty is markedly all-encompassing, and is an extremely complex issue in the Philippines. Look around you, look around the Philippines; beggars among streets, among stairs, among roads, among garbages, among filths and the like, well this is how we define poverty. Seeing from a functionalist perspective in the Philippines, we can say that equilibrium would never happen in the country itself. Why? Key points to consider, functionalist perspective relies on the presence of purposes, merely a function; for the Philippines to function we must have different personas in the world; rich people would be rich while poor people would be poor, definitely the simplest way to define such. In other words, we need to have poverty, we need to have poor Filipinos in order for us to have rich ones. If we have no poverty, there can be no rich people. Makes sense? No poor people, no rich people. Then how do we define, or how do we sort people according to their ways of living, gaining and probably producing. To wrap it up, poverty must necessarily be an essential part of the segmented division we are living in as a whole, the Philippines.

Social issues will always be complicated, moreover many-sided in a way. But pertaining to this, the answer to poverty will always be an intricate, complex to acknowledge - but in my overview, seeing such perspectives learned, complicated it may seem - but it is, most definitely, one well-worth tackling, one well-worth learning and one well-worth addressing.

SOURCES:

(Theory of Society, 2005).

Retrieved from http://gse.buffalo.edu/fas/bromley/classes/foundations/readings/theories.htm

(Austin, 2006).

Retrieved from http://cssr.berkeley.edu/bassc/public/CompletePovertyReport082306.pdf

(Schaefer, 2011)

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