Assess the Contribution of Functionalist Sociologist to Our Understanding of the Family

701 Words Apr 16th, 2015 3 Pages
Assess the contribution of functionalist sociologist to our understanding of the family
Functionalists believe that society is based on a value consensus into which society socialises its members, which enables to cooperate harmoniously and meet society’s needs and goals.
Functionalist’s sees that society is made up of a range of different sub-systems which depend on each other, and that society needs these functions or order for survival and is vital towards society. Functionalists see the family as a very important sub-system, as it raises and teaches children norms and values. According to Peter Murdock, he argues that the family performs four main functions to meet the needs of society and the members of society. One of the
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These needs depend on the type of society it is found, there are two types, which are pre-industrial and post-industrial, he believes that there are two types due to the change that has happened and the change that has occurred in society. In the post-industrial society, it has two basic needs. Firstly, it has to be geographically mobile as there are constant increases in some aspects of society and declining in another, this means that people would move where work was available as there was no other way to gain money and provide for their families and themselves. Secondly, there was the need for a socially mobile workforce, this was one of the main factors for the change in family diversity, due to some families moving and some staying due to more work being available, this caused a change in family types, the main two types were nuclear families and some were living in extended families due to owning farms and factories. Young and Willmott argue that extended family was not the dominant family type before the industrial revolution, as they argue that the nuclear family was on the rise due to better living standards, housing and the change in the position of women.
These functionalist sociologist views are criticised by the Marxist perspective, they believe that the family benefits the ruling class in a
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