社会变革相互依存的有机体的单位或社会总负责稳定和不稳定的生活。涂尔干的和其他实用主义者强调宗教和文化机构的角色在社会中保持其凝聚力和社会控制。实用主义者认为,恐怖主义是一个临时偏差和社会有机体几乎总是演变和复苏的“危机”(Cinoglu Ozeren,2011)。Cinoglu Ozeren也引用涂尔干的了解犯罪,宣称犯罪良心的人在一起打击罪犯。他们还说“为了保护和维护现状,和/或进化(慢速、内化和功能变化)社会利用恐怖主义是对平衡的打击,并重申其个人生活中至关重要的作用(p.50 Cinoglu Ozeren,2011)。类似恐怖主义被创造凝聚力在其结构结合个人认为共同的想法。这种集体意识必然会创建一个认同感。自宗教恐怖主义不再被认为是一种精神病态的状态基本上变成了一个对抗制度化机械/力量。因此,自动成为社会机体的防御机制和服务功能的保护宗教和文化机构的利益从而维护机体的健康。所以说功能主义接受了恐怖主义活动的功能是不可避免的社会变革。
The structural functionalist or the functionalist understanding as propounded by Herbert Spencer interprets society as a coordinated system of parts that work in tandem with each other to maintain balance and solidarity. Terrorism as a phenomenon of mass political violence is a social anomaly within the structural functionalist perspective (Turk, 2004). The society or the social organism according to Spencer and Durkheim seeks cohesion and stability in view of a balanced interaction between its parts, the primary units of this social organism being the cultural, political, and the economic units. The function of this social institution is to negotiate between the needs of social organism and itself (Brown, 1935). Terrorism is essentially understood as a type of political violence against the state or a dominating group (Turk, 2004). Yet another functional understanding behind drawing parallels between an organism and the society is the aspect of health and disease or in the case of society eunomia and dysnomia as explained by the early Greeks, where the former conveyed a sense of social order and good health and the latter meant disorder and social ill-health. The dysnomia or its French equivalent anomie could not lead to the death of the social organism quite like the death of an animal; a social institution does not die even during disorder or social pathology (Brown, 1935). If terrorism were to be considered a dysnomia it does not necessarily mean the end of the society affected by it rather a society can alter its structure or just become a part of a larger social structure. On the other hand terrorism could also be considered as a means to re-establishing eunomia in a society largely oppressed by yet another community. Unlike the past beliefs that terrorism was an organized psychopathological act of violence, it is now clear that terrorism is a response to exploitation or a protest of a desperate society (Turk, 2004). It is the imbalance in the political, cultural and economic units that creates dysnomia within the social organism. The structure functionalist perspective not only understands terrorism as a structural unit within the society but it also claims that this unit has certain latent functions that emerge as a result of interaction between societal units of the organism (Cinoglu and Ozeren, 2011).
The mutual interdependence of the units of the organism or the social aggregate is both responsible for the stability as well as instability of the living whole. The Durkheimian and other functionalists stress on the role of religious and cultural institutions within the society in maintaining its cohesion and social control. Functionalists believed that terrorism is a temporary deviation and the social organism almost always evolves and recovers from the ‘shocks’ (Cinoglu and Ozeren, 2011). Cinoglu and Ozeren also cite Durkheimian understanding of crime, which claims that crime brings together people of conscience to fight against criminals. They also state that ‘In order to protect and maintain status quo, and/or evolution (slow paced, internalized, and functional change) society utilizes terrorism as a blow to equilibrium and reassert its crucial role in individuals lives’ (Cinoglu and Ozeren, 2011 p.50). Similarly terrorism is known to create cohesion within its structure by bonding individuals who believe is common ideas. This collective consciousness is bound to create a sense of identity. Since religious terrorism is no more considered a psychopathological state it essentially becomes a fight against institutionalized machinery/forces. Therefore it automatically becomes the defence mechanism of the social organism and serves its function of protecting the interest of the religious and cultural institution thereby maintaining the health of the organism. So to say functionalism has accepted the functionality of terrorist activities as inevitable in the name of social change.