Structural functionalism
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Structural functionalism was the dominating theoretical school in British social anthropology from about 1930 to 1960, and was originally formulated in opposition to evolutionism. Theoretically, structural functionalism rested on ideas from Durkheim; methodologically, it was based on long, intensive, "classical" fieldwork. But though the "father of fieldwork" was Malinowski, he did not see himself as a structural functionalist, but championed a less sociologically oriented, functionalist approach, with a stronger emphasis on the individual actor and greater suitability for studies of social change.

Structural functionalist theory was formulated, in particular, by Radcliffe-Brown, but the most elegant and classical analyses in the genre are found in the work of Evans-Pritchard: See particularly his brilliant and (still) much debated monographs Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande and The Nuer. Structural functionalism and functionalism both took as their point of departure an idea of society as a holistic, integrated system, but structural functionalism had a much stronger emphasis on the self-perpetuation of the system. Indeed, the very name of the school implies that social institutions (which collectively form a social structure) function to maintain the harmony of the social whole.

Empirically, the structural functionalists were often preoccupied with political and economic issues, with an almost non-existant focus on meaning and symbolism. Kinship and lineage systems were a kind of Rosetta stone for their understanding of non-Western tribal societies, and became a model, at a very early stage, for how one might approach other kinds of social networks. Probably the most famous accomplishment of the structural functionalists was the formulation of segmentary lineage theory. (See also "process analysis" and structuralism.)