Functionalist View Of Family Essay Topics

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Assess the usefulness of the functionalist view for an understanding of the family today?
Functionalism is a structural theory. In functionalism, social institutes like families are the key parts of the structure/system. These institutions are seen as working in an integrated way that keeps society in a state of consensus. Functionalists stress the positive role of a family for society and its members. They argue that the families’ role is universal and functional.
A famous functionalist, called Murdock believed that the family is a social group characterised by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship. Murdock…show more content…

Parsons believed this was the case because of two factors. Geographical mobility, this is where the family moved to where the work would be, and a nuclear family could move easier than an extended family, and Social mobility, this is where people could move from their ascribed status to their achieved status. Consequently the extended family was replaced by the nuclear family in order to fit the needs of society.
Two functionalists who believed that the family was important and studied the family were Willmott and Young. They believed that the family was becoming a joint conjugal family and that the family was becoming more symmetrical. The rise of the symmetrical family is due to major social changes in the 20th century where there were higher living standards, labour saving devices, better housing, women working and there were smaller families which made it easier for the woman to be able to go out to work and come home and do little bits of housework.
Despite criticisms, the new right from the 1970’s agreed with the functionalist view that the family is useful. The new right is a political view rather than a sociological view, which has had considerable influence on government policies in Britain. It is a conservative view of the family based on some assumptions. The first assumption is a biologically based division of

Essay on The Functionalist View of the Family

565 Words3 Pages

The Functionalist View of the Family

It is undoubted that functionalism has contributed to the general understanding of the family, even if you don’t believe the functionalist view-point to be correct, it still plays an essential part in the topic of sociology by simply being there to conflict the Marxist view of the family.

The functionalist view of society makes the assumption that every society has a range of basic needs. Functionalists would say that if these needs are being met then the society is functioning and it is more likely to survive over a longer period of time.

Functionalist view is considered to be a consensus theory because it tends to accentuate the “need” for…show more content…

The main point of Parsons views are that he believes the family still keeps two main functions, the first function according to Parsons is:

The primary socialisation of children, this is widely believed to be the most important part of the socialisation process. Parsons says that everyone must learn the shared norms and values of society for there to be any form of consensus, if consensus did not exist then parson argues social life would not be possible. If this is taken one step further and societies shared norms and values are internalised and instilled into the younger generation then consensus is achieved and continues.

Is possible for this to happen in every family though? Parsons seems to of have ignored that in a number of families (this tends to be a minority), the functionalist interpretation of what are the correct norms and values are not passed on. This may be due to the parents, parent or guardian believing that a different set of norms and values are right; this is called a sub-culture.

The second main function of the family according to Parsons is:

The stabilisation of adult personalities, Parsons believed that unstable people and personalities can cause conflict within

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