philosophy of functionalism in geography

Here, we will discuss the philosophy of functionalism, which is a modern theme in geography. There are several questions, like: What is the concept of functionalism? who is the founder of this concept. And how does it influence geography?


What is the philosophy of functionalism in geography?

Functionalism is a philosophical approach in geography that focuses on the interrelationships between the various components of a region or society and their roles in maintaining the existing social and spatial structures.

It is based on the assumption that all aspects of a society, such as institutions, roles, norms, and cultural phenomena, serve a purpose and are indispensable for the long-term survival of the society.

Functionalism is concerned with functions (occupations) and the analysis of the functions of a society.

Functional approaches can be seen in the writings of French scholars like Jean Brunches and his contemporaries.

Region was considered as a functional unit- an organism which was more than the sum of its parts.

example- Mumbai, tatanagar, and Gulmarg.

Basic principles of functionalism are:

  1. Societies should be examined holistically in an interrelated system framework.
  2. causation is reciprocal and, in many instances, multiple.
  3. social systems are generally in a state of equilibrium.
  4. Functionalists are less interested in the history of society but more concerned with social interactions.
  5. Functionalists attempt to find the interrelationship between the compounds of social structure.

Six interrelated concepts of functionalism, which are used by geographers

  • functions
  • functional substitutability
  • goals
  • pattern maintenance, self-regulation/status quo
  • adaptation
  • integration.

criticism of functionalism

  • This philosophy is criticized on both conceptual and methodological grounds. Functionalism conceives the geographical realities as states of equilibrium and the assumption of total social integration on methodological or logical grounds.
  • Basic criticisms that of teleology.

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