Manifest vs Latent
Manifest and latent are terms used to describe the functions of patterns of behavior in a society. These functions can often be confusing for social sciences students. While manifest functions are obvious and noticeable, latent functions are not apparent. This article aims to highlight the differences between these functions and provide a better understanding of them.
- Manifest functions are easily understood and observed by members of a society.
- Latent functions are not apparent to those observing a member of society engaging in certain behaviors.
- These concepts were introduced by sociologist Robert K. Merton, who emphasized that patterns of human behavior fall into these two categories.
What is Manifest?
A manifest function of a pattern of behavior is one that is easily understood and observed by the members of a society. When people are asked why they engage in certain behaviors, their answers are usually related to the manifest function of that behavior. For example, when a person goes to a bar and drinks alcohol, the manifest function of their behavior is that they become intoxicated.
What is Latent?
In contrast to manifest functions, latent functions are not apparent to those observing a member of society engaging in certain behaviors. For example, people attending a funeral typically exhibit behaviors that are in line with the solemnity of the occasion, but there may be latent functions served by these behaviors that are not apparent to others. Sociologist Robert K. Merton is credited with introducing these concepts to help explain social behavior and facilitate the functional analysis of behaviors in a society.
Difference Between Manifest and Latent
- Manifest functions are easily understood and observed by members of a society, while latent functions are not apparent to observers.
- Manifest functions are more obvious, while latent functions are less clear.
- Both manifest and latent functions can be present in patterns of human behavior, as emphasized by Robert K. Merton.