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Copy of The Functionalist Perspective on the Family

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Tara Harding

on 12 May 2013

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Transcript of Copy of The Functionalist Perspective on the Family

What do you think this perspective could be? The Functionalist Perspective
on the Family! Functionalists believe that society
is based on a value consensus
-a set of shared norms and values into which society socializes it members. They see family as the basic building block for society
(so its an important sub-system) Sit down, stand up! Murdock (1949) thinks that the family performs for essential functions to meet the needs of society and its members:

- Stable satisfaction on the sex drive: with the same sex partner , preventing the social disruption caused by a sexual "free for all".

- Reproduction of the next generation: without which society could not continue.

- Socialization of the young: into society's shared norms and values.

- Meeting its members economic needs- such as food and shelter. Marxists and feminists reject the consensus view. Arguing that it functionalism neglects conflict and exploitation:
- Feminists see the family as serving the needs of men and oppressing women.
- Marxists argue it meets the needs of capitalism, not those of family members or society as a whole. 1. A Geographically Mobile Workforce In modern society, an individuals status is achieved by their own efforts and ability, not ascribed their social and family background
- This makes social mobility possible. Allowing people to cooperate harmoniously. They see society as a system made up of different sub-systems that depend on each other.
(Just like the well being of your body depends on your heart and lungs) Criticisms of Murdock... Murdock argues that the sheer practicality of the traditional nuclear family as a way for meeting the 4 needs explains why this idea is universal.
However some sociologists argue that these functions could be performed equally well by other institutions and non-nuclear family structures. Parsons! In this view Parsons thinks that the family may meet other needs too. These include welfare, military, political or religious functions. He said that the functions they perform depend on the kind of society it is found in.
So, the functions that that the family has to perform will affect its structure. Parsons distinguishes between 2 kinds of structures:
- The nuclear family
- The extended family Accoring to Parsons there are two types pf society:
Modern industrial society and traditional pre-industrial society.
The nuclear family (dominant) ----> industrial society
the extended family ----> pre-industrial society In traditional pre-industrial society, people often spent their whole lives living in the same village, working on the same farm.
In contrast, in modern society, industries constantly spring up and decline in different parts of the country, even different parts of the world and this requires people to move to where the jobs are. . Parsons sees industrial society as having two essential needs: Parsons argues that it is easier for the compact two-generation nuclear family (with just dependent children) to move, then for the three-generation extended family.

So the nuclear family is better suited to the need modern industry has for a geographically modern workforce. 2. A Socially Mobile Workforce Modern industrial society is based on constantly evolving science and technology and therefore requires a skilled workforce! For this reason, Parson argues the nuclear family is better equipped than the extended family:

In the extended family a son may live
with his father. So his father will be
ascribed as the head of the household
even if the son has a more important job.
Causing conflict in the household!!

Therefore the son should move out on his own and start his own nuclear family.
Therefore the nuclear family encourages social mobility as well as geographical mobility. Loss of Functions The pre-industrial family was a multi-story unit.
Eg- its a unit of production where the family all work on the farm, and a unit of consumption (feeding and clothing its members.
Therefore it was a more self-sufficient than the modern nuclear family. However, according to parsons, when society industrializes, the family changes structure from extended to nuclear and it loses many of its functions. So the family stops being a unit of production as work moves into factories. The family becomes a unit of consumption only.
It also loses other functions to other institutions, such as schools and the health service. As a result of this loss of functions, the modern nuclear family comes to specialize in performing just two essential functions:

- The primary socialization of children
- The stabilization of adult personalities

What do you think these are? 1. Funtionalits believe that society is based on conflict 2. Parsons distinguished between 3 different kinds of family structure 3. The nuclear family is better suited to the needs of a geographically mobile workforce. 4. In modern society an individuals status is achieved by their own efforts.
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