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Assess the Functionalist View of the Family Essay

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Assess the functionalist view of the family
Functionalism is when everything in society has a role to play in day-to-day life. A prime example of functionalism in society is the family. The family is seen as a social group characterized by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. It will involve at least two people who have a socially approved sexual relationship and one or more children (their own or adopted) of the sexually cohabiting adults. There are different views on the functionalism of the family and these views can change over time, between societies and between people in the same society.
One man who expressed his functionalist view on the family was Murdock. He felt that the family was at the heart of society and that the nuclear family (mother, father and two or more children) was so useful to society it is inevitable and universal. This suggests that Murdock thought that the family was a natural part of society and happens all over the world. He felt that the family was multi-functional and could do a lot of things that needed to be done in modern day culture. However, he didn't think about the other ways some of these functions can be performed. For example, Murdock feels one of the key functions in the family is the educational factor (socializing the young into societies of norms and values) in contrast though, schools can also teach the young morals and values to the young suggesting that the family isn't needed for all of the tasks Murdock thinks they need to do. Murdock studied 250 different societies to find out whether there was evidence of the nuclear family. He claimed that he had found the nuclear family in all 250 different societies, following the essential functions of: sexual, reproductive, economic an educational needs. On the other hand, a sociologist called Morgan felt that the nuclear family is almost too good to be true. He felt that Murdock's nuclear family is 'a remarkably harmonious institution' and that the...

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