Question by Gina G: How would a structural-functionalist view the current oil spill incident in the Gulf?
I just dont get Sociology!! I need to know how someone would explain the oil spill in the Gulf from a structural-functional perspective. Help! Anyone????

Best answer:

Answer by Flash Funk
The oil spill was a sigle event, it is not a sociological strcuture.

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One Response

  1. A structural functionalist would view the Gulf Coast oil spill as a social problem. A social problem is a condition which affects a great many people in undesirable ways about which something can be done through collective social action (1). Rich and Winters (2) claim that “natural disasters” become “social problems” when they are caused by and/or affect human beings. They also state that the solution to such disasters can be found in collective social action.

    An example that can be drawn from the mismanagement of the well in the Gulf coast is seen in the dynamics of California politics. Before the tragedy caused by the greed of BP, California’s governor Arnold Schwarzenegger backed the construction of a deep-sea well off the coast of Santa Barbara. After seeing the extent of the destruction in Louisiana and Alabama (as well as the threat to Florida), he has reversed himself, claiming that he’d rather work at different ways to balance the budget than to put the state at risk for the same kind of troubles.

    Social problems like those caused by BP, the Exxon Valdez (1997), or even brush fires that destroy houses are no longer considered to be “Acts of God.” Rich and Winters say that events like fires and earthquakes have always occurred. They become social problems when people insist upon erecting housing projects on unstable land or in drought regions where we know that forests or grasslands traditionally are “managed” by lightening-caused fire.

    Likewise, it is unlikely that oil (at least in quantity) would erupt unless people drill far enough below the earth’s crust. Consequently, many things that were once considered to be “natural disasters” are really problems caused by people. Therefore, the solution to the problems must also lie with people.

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