Functionalist View Of The Family

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Murdock (1949) studied 250 different societies, he concluded that society could not survive without the family as it was so functional. He argued there were four essential functions, without these society would not survive: sexual, reproductive, economic and education. Without sex and reproduction there would be no new members, without economic and education, the family providing for its members, the young socialised to norms and values, cultures would not exist. In the absence of this human society would cease (Haralambos and Holborn, 2008). 83
Evaluate the functionalist view of the family by referring to for example, the view that the family has lost functions/role due to structural differentiation.

Parsons (1955) studied the modern
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Discuss an additional sociological theory on the role of the family, e.g. feminist, Marxist or the New Right.

Where functionalism believes the nuclear family is positive, marxism argues from a negative viewpoint seeing an extended and reproduced conflict between classes. Marxist dispute the belief of family having equal benefit for all and argue the capitalist economy depends on the family to buy and work, to produce goods which benefits the capitalist. Although the nuclear family is responsible for socialisation, it must be considered that not all norms and values are positive. They oppose the functionalists who paint a rosy view, who forget to account for issues that arise possibly leading to divorce or separation, as not all families are the same (Taylor and Richardson et al,. 2002). The increase of economic pressure from unemployment and people living longer seen to impose pressure on relationships leading to breakdown. The socialisation process seen to result in the spreading of the ruling class philosophy, individuals being deceived into accepting a capitalist system of leadership and dominance. Those Bourgeois benefitting from a created labour force with the proletariat exploited. Engels (1972) saw the bourgeois form of nuclear family as oppressing women, who were dependent financially on their spouse and expected child bearers. Family being designed to control women, protect property and for men to know their
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