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Think of society as a living organism which every part of it contributes to its survival. This view is the functionalist perspective, which every parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability. Functionalist regard sports as an almost religious institution that uses ritual and ceremony to reinforce the common values of a society.
In 1968, Robert Merton made an important distinction between manifest and latent functions. Manifest functions of institutions are open, stated, conscious functions that involve intended, recognized, consequences of an aspect of society. Taking sports as an example, manifest function of sports is to keep people stay fit and healthy. It is an objective that widely and well known by everyone. In contrast, latent functions are unconscious or unintended functions that may reflect hidden purposes of an institution. For example, someone who takes part and involve in sport might intend to gain popularity. It is something that only known by the party or the person himself. Besides manifest function and latent function, sociologists define dysfunction …