The Idea Of “Family” Holds Various Meanings For Everyone

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The idea of “family” holds various meanings for everyone depending on their rituals, symbols, ideology, and situatedness in time, place, and culture. A biologist may define family as a group involving all descendants of a common ancestor. A criminologist may define family as a group of people united in criminal activity. A sociologist may define family as a fundamental social group in society consistent of one or two parents and the children they raise. Historically, people have considered a nuclear familial structure as desirable and most successful. Over time, sociologists have set out to analyze the social construct of family, and have come to understand that single-parent, homosexual, egalitarian, and extended families can be as highly…show more content…
Though Michelle’s childhood is painfully heartbreaking, I recognize the events as an explanation for how she has become an incredibly loving and caring mother to her three children. In close analysis of Michelle’s childhood and modern day family life, the functionalist theory connects familial aspects of her past and present life. The dysfunctions and manifest functions held by the members of Michelle’s past and present family members truly reflects her experience with atypical familial roles. The functionalist sociological perspective serves to understand how each part of society is structured to maintain social stability (Schaefer 12). In comparing and contrasting the structure and familial roles of Michelle’s past and present families, Parson’s and Luhmann’s approach is clearly connected to how her family life has changed over time. Michelle’s mother held a dysfunctional role in her manifest functions as a mother by not caring for her children, cooking, cleaning, or contributing to the household. Michelle recognized her mother’s behaviors as an aspect of social life that did not serve useful nor valuable functions. Thus, Michelle did not adapt these traits and behaviors in her role as a mother. In inquiring about Michelle’s relationship and familial roles with her children, Michelle says “My children are my world, we are all very close with each other. I am very protective of my kids. I don’t think any of us could function without each
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