Define: also known as structural functionalism, or systems theory, functionalism is a theory that states that societies contain interdependent structure, each of which performs certain functions essential for societal maintenance. schools are a good example of structures that perform a defined function essential for the reproduction of society.
Apply: functionalism is associated with ideas of conflict and stability. applying this theory can help us understand why the status quo is maintained. this is important for community development because in many situations the change that community development aims for are harder to achieve than we might think. the status quo is extremely hard to change. in fact in planning we say that unless there are very strong reasons to oppose that status quo and unless you can prove that the status quo is no longer a viable alternative, maintaining the status quo is the best alternative.
Adapt: structural functionalism has its origins in anthropology where it is still being used for understanding social structures

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  1. Apply: Within community development, functionalism is imperative. Social workers must understand how the community functions before they can even set a plan for change. Functionalism can shed a light on where the communities excel and where there is room/need for strengthening. Community Organizers can use functionalism to understand how all the different aspects of a community's society interact and influence development.

    Adapt: Businesses can use functionalism when thinking of expanding or relocating. They can use this model to examine a community and see where they may fit in the current system of functioning. It would be useful for business to use this theory to see if they are needed within certain areas.