Outline and Evaluate Functionalist Views of the Role of the Family in Society.

1570 Words7 Pages
Outline and evaluate Functionalist views of the role of the family in society. [33 marks]

Functionalism is a structuralist theory; this meaning that it sees social structure (the social organisation of society) as more important than individuals. Functionalist sociologists believe that people have a range of basic needs that must be met if society is to run smoothly. Different groups and individuals in society are important because they perform certain functions which meet society's needs. Functionalism supports the family in nearly every way, to the support it offers to the next generation and the way it teaches them the four functions they need to survive. George Peter Murdock described the family as being “a social group characterized
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Now, however, child law has been outlawed in a series of Acts of Parliament starting in 1833 with the Factories Act, which required compulsory schooling and the cleanliness of the workplace. Fourteen years later the Ten Hour Act was passed, limiting the number of hours worked by thirteen to eighteen year olds to ten hours a day. Moreover, Murdock’s definition is also criticised, as it is argued that children can be reared and socialised effectively in lone parent families and many would argue that single sex couples also can rear and socialise children effectively although others would dispute this.
Talcott Parsons (1965) was a functionalist sociologist who attempted to trace the historical development of the family and explain why the nuclear family had become so dominant. Parsons argued that there are two basic irreducible functions of the family. These are Primary socialisation and the stabilisation of the adult personalities, Primary socialisation is the process through which the children are taught and learn to accept the norms and values of society. Primary socialisation is important as it teaches us how to relate to others, language and customs and it is the foundation upon which all later learning rests. Secondly, the stabilisation of the adult personalities is all about the family giving the adult offspring emotional support necessary
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