functional alternative

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functional alternative

or

functional equivalent

any institutional arrangements seen as fulfilling the same FUNCTION, or broadly the same function, in answering the essential needs of a society or social system. Thus, secular CIVIL RELIGIONS (see also SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION) may perform the same basic functions (e.g. in providing social integration) as conventional religions. The conditions for identification of functional equivalents are controversial, however, and may be difficult to specify (see FUNCTIONAL(IST) EXPLANATION). See also FUNCTIONALISM, FUNCTIONAL PREREQUISITES, POSTULATE OF FUNCTIONAL INDISPENSABILITY OR UNIVERSAL FUNCTIONALISM.