Similarly the operation of any society is dependent on its social institutions as they provide vital functions which maintain harmony, stability and solidarity within a society. G P Murdock and Talcott Parsons are the main Functionalists of family. According to Talcott Parsons the family has lost many of its functions, but still has two important functions. The primary socialisation of children: children learn norms and values in their society from their parents, who teach them what is right and what is wrong. Murdock argued that the nuclear family was a universal social institution and has four important parts to play in keeping society functioning: reproductive, economic, sexual and education function.
Bowlby believed that attachments are natural and adaptive. He also believed that we are all born with an inherited need to form attachments and this is to help us survive. This can also line up with Darwin’s theory of natural selection, which explains that any behaviour that helps us to survive to maturity and reproduce will be maintained in the gene pool. For example; a baby relies on its mother for food and care etc and without the mother the baby would be helpless. Babies have social releaser which unlocks the innate tendency for adults to care for them; these are both physical and behavioural social releasers.
Outline and Explain the Functionalist Perspective on the Family The meaning of family is usually a group of people that are related by marriage or blood. The founder of Functionalism was Emile Durkhiem. Functionalists share the same ontological view of Marxists, this view is the belief that man is weak, man is passive and society is strong. Functionalists believe that society is something that is based on value consensus (meaning a set of shared norms and values). Within the society, it socialises with its institutions and this gives the ability to meet the needs and goals of society.
To make society work, it has to function in harmony, like a body; this is called the consensus theory. Parson’s developed the idea of roles in the collective called institutions such as family, religion, peer group, legal and economic systems that complement each other in fulfilling functions in society. Radcliffe Brown saw institutions as the key to maintaining the global social order. Institutions are the structures of social order and co-operation, governing the behaviour of individuals within human race collectively. Merton????
Murdock – argues that the family performs four essential functions to meet the needs of society and it members. 1) Stable satisfaction of the sex drive – with the same partner, which prevents a social disruption 2) Reproduction of the next generation – without which society wouldn’t continue 3) Socialisation of the young – into society’s shared norms and values 4) Meeting its members economic needs – such as food and shelter Murdock argues that these four factors explains why having a nuclear family is universal Criticisms of Murdock Other sociologists argue that other institutions or non nuclear family structures could equally performs these functions, not just nuclear families. Feminists argue that they see the family as serving the needs of men and oppressing women. Parsons functional fit theory Parsons distinguishes two family structures Nuclear family – just parents and dependent children Non Nuclear family – three generations living under the same roof Parsons argues that the particular structure and functions of a given type of family will ‘fit’ the needs of the society in which it is found. According to Murdock there are two basic types of society -Modern industrial family: nuclear family -Pre industrial family: extended family A geographically mobile workforce -Parsons argues that it is easier for the nuclear family to move.
Another group is the Feminists who have different groups within them, some with very optimistic views, some with views that will agree with Marxists or some who will have their own ideologies and ways to demolish the generic nuclear family. This essay will explore the different functions performed by the family and see how that benefits individuals and society; whether that’s in a bad way or a good way. Functionalists believe that the family provides many functions for the individual and for society. Parsons and Murdock, two functionalists believe that the family is the primary agent of socialisation for an individual; the family is an important organ in the body of society. Murdock saw the family, the nuclear family in particular, an absolute need for society and he considered the four basic functions of the family to be the sexual, the reproductive, the socialisation and the economic.
Different groups have different views on how beneficial the family is to society. Functionalists, who traditionally dominated the sociology of the family, feel that the family is necessary for the running and continuation of an integrated society. It is assumed by functionalists that if there is the existence of a social institution, then it must have a purpose or a function. Functionalists therefore see the family as beneficial for society. To functionalists, society is an 'organism' that contains different segments which come together to keep society running smoothly.
The family for example contributes a lot toward society as it is the main route of reproducing the population and teaching them the important lesson of socialization as they grow. Functionalists believe that the family introduces traditional culture to the new members of society and creates well joined members of society. The family is seen to provide important statuses that will be well known in society and recognised statuses such as lower class and higher class along with defined background history to new members. The family is seen to be responsible for replacing and reproducing new family members when the older generation pass away. Furthermore functionalists believe that families offer material and emotional security and provide care and support.
Functionalists say that the family is an important institution in society that provides functions to meet some of society’s needs. Section 2b highlights the socialisation function of family. Functionalists say that the family is an important institution in society that provides functions to meet some of society’s needs. The family has the greatest impact on socialization. Infants, especially are totally dependent on others, and the responsibility to look after the young ones typically falls on parents.