Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Manifest functions refer to the intended and recognized consequences of a deliberately executed social behavior or action. Upward social mobility, for example, is a manifest function of international labor migration undertaken by populations seeking to improve their economic conditions. Robert K. Merton gave the original explication of manifest functions in Social Theory and Social Structure in 1957. Merton contrasted manifest functions with latent functions, which are unintended and generally unrecognized consequences. For instance, the functioning of a university campus as a marketplace for finding marital partners can be considered to be a latent function of the manifest function of providing higher-level education. As Merton explained, other social theorists, ...