Conflicting Perspectives of the Ideal Family Essay

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Task 1: ‘Functionalist accounts of the family underestimate the extent of conflict within families’. Discuss with reference to relevant sociological theories and examples.
The Functionalist sociologist, Murdock (1949) defined the ‘family as a social group characterised by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction’ (Sociology In Focus p62). He claimed it must include adults of both sexes of whom maintain a socially accepted sexual relationship, and own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults. Murdock's definition is focuses on the Nuclear family stereotypically made up of a ‘two-generation family heterosexual couples with offspring’ (Moore, Chapman and Aiken p136). This definition of the family is popular
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Task 1: ‘Functionalist accounts of the family underestimate the extent of conflict within families’. Discuss with reference to relevant sociological theories and examples.
The Functionalist sociologist, Murdock (1949) defined the ‘family as a social group characterised by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction’ (Sociology In Focus p62). He claimed it must include adults of both sexes of whom maintain a socially accepted sexual relationship, and own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults. Murdock's definition is focuses on the Nuclear family stereotypically made up of a ‘two-generation family heterosexual couples with offspring’ (Moore, Chapman and Aiken p136). This definition of the family is popular among right wing sociologists who believe it is the ideal type of family unit that people should aspire to have. They argue this because they believe the nuclear family is the best type of family for the individual and for society. This is why they encourage it and regard it as the most beneficial family structure. They believe that it is the nuclear family unit by which the process of socialisation is transmitted at its strongest with the most benefit for society. However, functionalists tend to see the family as harmonious but this is simply not the case in society today. For example, a farming family produces food while here in the west, the family is a unit of consumption, families buy goods and services for the rest of their family
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