Functionalism and the primary ways that it looks at society and culture
From the point of view of functionalist perspective, every social phenomenon only exists because it performs a particular function in a certain society. In such a way, as the society develops, some regional, social, cultural, and political phenomena cease to exist (Isajiw 34). In the theoretical framework of the functionalist approach, it is also reasonable to suggest that the best way to eliminate some negative features of the modern society is to understand what function they perform and find the alternative that can also satisfy that need.
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However, it is also important to note that there are a number of rather controversial social and cultural phenomena. They are not only hard to interpret but also complex in terms of understanding their underlying function. Among such societal behaviors, tendencies, and deviations, there are such phenomena as drug abuse and various other destructive behaviors. In the modern context, there are different opinions regarding whether those phenomena have their function in the contemporary society as well, why they affect particular social groups, and how those behaviors can be managed.
Reaction to the video
The Rendezvous by Rob Cantor is a controversial music video on many levels. The main objective of this video was to undermine social taboos and to make viewers uncomfortable. First of all, the way, in which the video is filmed creates among the viewers the impression that they are observing parts of some people’s private lives that should not be seen (Cantor “The Rendezvous”).
Alongside the feeling of awkwardness, it also makes viewers a little appalled and revolted. On one hand, there is nothing wrong in the relationships of two adults with an age gap. However, on the other hand, the circumstances, in which, the characters of the video meet, the way they behave, the fact that an elder woman abuses drugs in front of the young man, create and impression that their actions are somewhat immoral.
Reasons for such reaction to the video
In the framework of functionalism, our moral judgment towards behaviors shown in the video also has its specific function. Such behaviors as drug abuse and unprotected sex are self-destructive. The social taboos in the modern culture were developed in order to protect the majority of people from such phenomena in order for them to survive and maintain a functional society.
The actions that, for most of the viewers appear to be immoral, together with the undignified behaviors shown in the video, in a way, it can be even offensive for those who watch the video. In terms of functionalism, the ‘moral compass’ that indicates for the majority of people that such behaviors are ‘wrong’ is a protective mechanism from self-destructive actions.
The modern culture, in many ways, disapproves of older people showing negative behaviors to the younger generation, as the woman in the video who abused drugs in front of a relatively young man. The function of an appalled feeling that such scene evokes, from the point of view of functionalism, is a mechanism to protect younger generations.
The impression from the video is especially disturbing because of the combination with the melodic music and the lack of condemnation of those behaviors in the video. It happens because humans need reassurance that they understand the situation, social norms and taboos correctly. There is no such reassurance in the video, which makes it all the more disturbing for the viewers.
Cantor, Rob. “The Rendezvous.” Online video clip. YouTube. 2014. Web.
Isajiw, Wsevolod. Causation and Functionalism in Sociology. London: Routledge, 2013. Print.