Functions and Diversity of Family Structure in the UK Essay

1276 Words6 Pages
Functions and Diversity of Family Structure

There are various debates and views on the term ‘family’ in today’s society.

Although we can say that a family consists of a unit of people that are related, either legally through marriage or biologically.

In both premodern and modern societies families have been seen as the most basic unit of a social organisation that carries out vital tasks, such as socialising children.

Whereas a ‘household’ consists of a group of people who cohabit at the same address. Therefore this is known as ‘a physical entity’. This could contain various social arrangements some may be considered within society as a ‘family’, whilst others may not. For example, a
…show more content…
There are various functionalist’s that don’t agree with Murdock, such as Parsons (1959). He argued that in modern societies there are only two basic functions, which are:

1. Stabilisation of the adult personality

2. Primary socialisation of children

Parsons and Murdock both agree that the family structure is essential for the maintenance of society, and that the family is universal because any other institution cannot perform its functions.

The Marxist views on the family totally differ from those of the functionalists.

Barrett and McIntosh (1991) suggest that the ‘nuclear family’ is presented as ideal for society to aspire to, thus makes the concept of the family ‘anti-social’ because it implies that other forms of family life are inferior.

There are also other alternative family structures such as the extended family.

This is basically the nuclear family plus distant relations, such as aunts and uncles etc.

Although, extended family relationships appear to have declined in importance in the twentieth century, due to the fact that geographical and social demands of an industrial society that are more fluid.

This has also led to a change in role for women.

There are also several other family definitions that
Get Access