功能主义是一种社会理论，是由19世纪早期的社会理论家Emilie Durkheim提出的。迪尔凯姆于1858年4月出生于法国，他在法国学习哲学，并在那里发现了功能主义理论。迪尔凯姆以《社会劳动分工》、《社会学方法的规则》、《自杀》和《宗教生活的基本形式》的作者而闻名。(Jones and Bradbury, 2011)例如，功能主义是由不同部分组成的社会，需要共同努力来维持社会。尽管Emelie Durkheim是第一个使用功能主义思想的社会学理论家，他是在Auguste Comte(1798-1857)的影响下发展起来的。迪尔凯姆以其对社会结构的信仰和观点而闻名。尽管如此，迪尔凯姆的理论也是建立在社会事实作为规范和价值以及社会结构的概念之上的。然而，孔德不同意迪尔凯姆的观点，他认为通过将社会结构与生物有机体的起源和运作方式进行比较，才能更好地理解社会结构的存在和特征。例如，正如自然的身体依赖于其个别器官的功能以生存一样，作为其组成部分的个人和机构的和谐结合也是如此。与此同时，迪尔凯姆探索了社会结构最重要的特征，即社会结构是由规范和许多价值观构成的——在不同的环境中，行为的文化定义被认为是适当的和有价值的。由于我们是通过社会化来学习这些规范定义的，因此，只有在这个过程中，人们才能成为社会的成员，从而使社会生活更有可能。对于迪尔凯姆来说，人类社会生活的成就，以及社会中社会秩序的存在(他称之为“社会团结”)，都是通过社会化来确保的——不同的个体通过社会化来学习行为准则或规则。迪尔凯姆对这些规则的定义是“社会事实”。虽然这些只有通过个体对这些个体的从众性才可见，但用迪尔凯姆的话说，这些个体是“外在的，并受其制约”的。
Functionalism is a social theory, it was introduced by a social theorist called Emilie Durkheim in the early 19th centuries. Emilie Durkheim was born in April 1858 in France, he studied philosophy where he discovered the functionalist theory.Emilie Durkheim was mostly well known as the author of the division of Social Labor, also The Rules of Sociological Method, Suicide, and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. (Jones and Bradbury, 2011) For example, Functionalism is society consisting of different parts that need to work together to maintain society. Although, Emelie Durkheim was one of the first biggest sociological theorist to use functionalist ideas, which he developed under the influence of the work of Auguste Comte (1798-1857). Durkheim was famous for believing and having opinions on the structure of society. Although, also Emilie Durkheim’s theories were found on the concept of social facts made as norms and values and also the structure of society. However, Comte disagreed with Durkheim that we could best understand the existence and character of social structures by comparing them both to origins and workings of the biological organisms. For example, just as natural bodies rely on the functioning of their individual organs to survival the harmonious integration of the individual and institutions that are their constituent parts. Meanwhile, Durkheim explored the most vital feature of the social structure is that they are made up of norms and many values – cultural definitions of behaviour considered appropriate and much worthy in different settings. Since it is through socialization that we learn these normative definitions, it is only this process which structures people into members of society and therefore also, makes social life much more possible. For Durkheim, the achievement of social life among humans, and the existence of social order in society, which he calls ‘social solidarity’ is ensured by socialization – the process whereby different individuals learn that held standards or rules of behaviour. Durkheim’s phrase of these rules was ‘social facts’. Although these are only visible through the conformity of individuals to them, they are, nevertheless, in Durkheim’s words, ‘external to, and constraining upon’ these individuals.