Society has certain basic needs or necessary conditions, which must be satisfied if it is to survive. These basic needs or necessary conditions of existence of society are known as functional pre-requisites of society. Sociologists differ in their views regarding the identification of the functional pre-requisites. Some sociologists view social stratification as a fundamental pre-requisite, while some others view reproduction and socialisation as the functional pre-requisites of society.
Taking the views of the sociologists, we may point out the following functional pre-requisites of society.
(1) Provision for satisfaction of basic needs:
Food, clothing and shelter are the basic needs for each and everybody of the society. Besides man needs security for protection of its members. Every society has a mechanism of defence.
The newborn children are expected to learn the social values, norms and systems of behaviour. Society provides its members with a mechanism through which they learn the ways of social living. So socialisation is an important pre-requisite of society.
In all societies, there is social relationship. As there is mutual awareness among individuals in a society, there is also mutual dependence and co-operation. Individuals are bound together in a web of interdependence.
(4) Social control:
There is some people in a society who do not act according to the desire of the society. In order to bring these people into line every society devises a mechanism called social control. By social control, every society regulates anti-social activities of its members.
(5) Goal attainment:
Goal attainment is another functional prerequisite. It includes (1) the determination of goals, (2) the motivation of the members of the society to attain these goals and (3) the mobilising of the members and their energies for the achievement of goals.
It is another vital condition for the society to survive. Old members die. New members usually take their place. Otherwise society may die. The replacement is done through procreation.
(7) Division of labour:
As there is interdependence in society, there is division of labour too. If one function is performed by one individual the other by other individual. In simple societies division of labour was simply based on sex, age and ability. In modern societies division of labour has become complex.
(8) A system of role allocation:
In every society there must be a proper process for determining which persons will occupy what roles at what time for what purposes. This process is called ‘role allocation’. Proper allocation of roles between members minimises problem for the society. Otherwise, society may face disintegration.
(9) A system of communication:
A society cannot exist without a system of communication. Animals use signals but humans use both signals and symbols. They can communicate with one another in a meaningful manner.
(10) A system of production:
No society can function in the absence of a system of production. It involves techniques and organisation. Human beings learn these techniques of production through observation, participation, and instruction. Production has both individual and collective aspect. Man achieves many things through collective effort,
(11) A system of distribution:
Production is closely associated with distribution. In simple societies producers were the consumers. In complex societies this is not so. There are some persons who cannot produce but only consume. For instance children, the diseased and the disabled. For these people society also makes provision for consumption. Improper distribution may lead to conflict in society.