What Is A Family? Essay

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For most of us, the family is considered as a well-known and comfortable institution. The perfect model of the ‘ideal’ family is still mostly considered to be consisted from two different sexes’ parents, and one or more children. Until quite recently, the sociology of the family was mostly functionalist and just in the last few decades has been challenged from various directions. There are many different definitions about what the family is. Different theoretical positions influence these variations. For example, the functionalist sociologist George Peter Murdock defines the family as “a social group characterized by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain…show more content…
An early functionalist George Murdock argued that the family plays the main role in the society by performing three main functions-  Stabilisation of the sexual behaviour and reproduction.  Providing the basic economic requirements.  Serving the function of socialisation of the next generation. G. Murdock claimed that without family serving these three functions the society would disappear. He considered these functions as universal, although he agreed that they could develop. Talcott Parsons argues this statement, by saying, that there are two broad functions of the family- primary socialisation and stabilisation of the adult personality ‘throughout the emotional security, including sexual expression, provided by marriage’ (O'Donnell, 1997). In these days, when society is changing, the functionalistic statements lose their strength. For example, the sex outside the marriage, in these days of easily available contraception, is no more the taboo. Margaret Mead argues Murdock’s and Parsons imply that nuclear family is biologically necessary and natural. She stated that the nuclear family is based on culture, not biology. Marxist views on the family Marxists have very critical view of the family and society. They adopt a structural perspective, but put it in the class nature of the society. The starting point for the most Marxist analyses of gender and the family is Friedrich Engels’ (1820-1895) The Origin of the

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