Structural-functional Perspective of M N Srinivas

Structural-Functional approach in the study of society emerged from the writings of early thinkers like August Comte, Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim during the later part of 19th century and became a predominant trend in sociology, anthropology and other social sciences during the first half of 20th century. Functional approach to the study of society views society in terms of its constituent parts and their relationship with each other in order to maintain the society as a whole.

Radcliffe-Brown defines function of any social institution in terms of the contribution it makes to the maintenance of the whole society.

In India, Structural-functional approach had been a predominant approach since the 1940s till the end of the 20th century.

Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas

According to M N Srinivas there are basically two ways of understanding our society i.e. book view and field view. Book view is to understand the society from the books and literature available and is otherwise known as Indological approach. But Srinivas has emphasized more on field view, where understanding society from field work is considered as important.

Various scholarly writings of Srinivas are:

  1. Social change in Modern India (1966)
  2. Religion and Society among Coorgs of South India(1952)
  3. Caste in Modern India and Other Essays(1966)
  4. The Dominant Caste and Other Essays (1987)
  5. India’s Villages (1955)
  6. India: Social Structure (1980)

Various books and articles by M N Srinivas:

  1. Social Change
  2. Religion and Society
  3. Dominant Caste
  4. Sanskritization

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