Premium Essay

Asses the Contribution of Functionalist Sociologists to Our Understanding of the Family.

In: Social Issues

Submitted By rahimakhan
Words 438
Pages 2
Asses the contribution of functionalist sociologists to our understanding of the family.

A function is a purpose and explains how this institution contributes to the maintenance and smooth running of society this approach to society is called functionalism. From a functionalists point of view a family is a heterosexual couple with dependent children, male is the breadwinner and woman is the housewife. Functionalists believe that the nuclear family supports society because it is geographically mobile and allows the family to move around with little trouble.

Functionalists believe that society is based on a shared value consensus, this is a set of shared norms and values into which society socializes its members this enables society to work harmoniously and meet society's needs and goals.

George Murdoch said that their are four main functions of the nuclear family these are; sexual, it strengthens relations in the family. Reproductive, family is the main unit of production. Educational, family is responsible for primary education. Economic, the family has to produce and consume something in order to satisfy its needs and wants. The nuclear family can be extended vertically, horizontally or by polygamy.

Some may argue that Murdoch's definition is weak because at that time sex before marriage was not accepted as was single mothers and homo-sexual families.

Talcott Parsons argued that although there are many functions that the family has lost with changes in society there are two essential functions the family has not lost.

Primary Socialization, parsons argued that an individual must learn the shared norms and values of society. Without this there would be no consensus and without consensus there would be no social life.

Stabilization of adult personalities, according to Parsons, families help to stabilize adult...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay


...Item 2A Sociologists analyse the domestic division of labour in many different ways. Parsons describes the division of labour in the traditional nuclear family in terms of an expressive role and an instrumental role. However, this traditional arrangement may have changed as families have changed, and many feminists use the term ‘dual burden’ to describe the woman’s role in the family today. Item 2B Government policies and laws include tax and benefit policies as well as legislation such as relating to divorce and marriage. Sociologists have different views on the impact of these policies and laws on families. For example, feminists argue that social policies assume that the ideal family is a patriarchal nuclear family, and that government policies and laws therefore favour this sort of family. On the other hand, the New Right argue that the benefit system undermines traditional nuclear families by actively encouraging lone parents. 0 6 Explain what is meant by the ‘dual burden’ (Item 2A). (2 marks) 0 7 Explain the difference between the expressive role and the instrumental role (Item 2A). (4 marks) 0 8 Suggest three ways in which the differences between children and adults are becoming less clear in society today. (6 marks) 0 9 Examine the reasons for, and the effects of, changes in family size over the past 100 years or so. (24 marks) 1 0 Using material from Item 2B and elsewhere, assess sociological views of the impact of government policies and laws on family......

Words: 5042 - Pages: 21