Assess the Contribution of Functionalism to Our Understanding of Families and Households. Essay

881 WordsNov 2, 20144 Pages
Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households. Functionalists have different views to how the family should be formed and the roles and responsibilities within them. There are how ever opposing theories form conflict theories. Functionalist sociologists believe that the family is vital for the build and survival of society. With family being the primary factor for being the way that we act functionalists believe it is important that the family socialises the children properly so that they can pass on these norms and values, This will there for ensure that the children will confirm to laws and rules. Functionalists favour the nuclear family as part of a post industrialisation family. This is because during the time that functionalism was around there weren't many extended families due to the factors such as the war. This would give the mother and father there separate roles within the family. The father would go out to be the “breadwinner” whilst the mother would stay at home to support the family emotionally and domestically such as cooking food and the safeguarding of children. This is explained by the warm bath theory with the mother being the “bath” or “backbone” of the family whilst she provides the father and children with the support. Famous sociologist George Peter Murdock has his own view of the family within functionalism. His definition of the family was a group of people characterised by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship and one or more children, own or adopted, of the socially cohabiting adults. He believed that there are 4 essential functions for the family to carry out. These are the sexual function, the reproductive function, the education function and the economic function. The
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