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Role Of Family Identified By Functionalist Theory And Marxist Theory

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2) Does the role of family in society ever change?

Regardless different culture context and history path, family forms the basic and highly important unit for every known society. The function of the family in society is often discussed and debated. As a result, there are various theories developed which include functionalist theory, feminist theory and Marxist theory (Mary Maynard, 2000) and each theory has explained a number of roles played by family, both positive and negative. This essay will briefly illustrate three traditional roles of family identified by functionalist theory and discuss whether the role of family has changed in the current society.

Before we can move further, a definition of “family” must be made. In
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The rise in birth rate outside marriage may be attributed to the decline of religious belief and traditional values as well as improved financial ability of women due to increasing job opportunities. The former has promoted freedom of sex which made marriage and formation of family no longer the compulsory precondition for having children. The latter empowers women to support their children without reliance on a husband. Despite these changes, in many nations, especially those influenced by Confucianism, birth outside marriage is still rare. Japan and Korea, for example, have a share of births outside marriage below 5% in 2014 (OECD, 2016). Furthermore, 70% of the birth rate outside marriage is contributed by co-habiting couples who then married (OECD, 2016). This means that most people still prefer to form a family or at least rely on a family to have their children. Hence, we can conclude that the role of family to reproduce population is being challenged but has remained unchanged yet.

Another traditional responsibility of family is the primary socialization and social control of children (Ken Browne, 1998, p.256). Children are inculcated with values and norms embraced or accepted by the society. In addition, rules are set by parents to regulate and guide children’s behaviour. However, with the emergence of childcare services and promotion of school education by states, such responsibility is
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