Assess the functionalist contributions to our understanding of the family Functionalists believe that parts of society exist for a function and are all part of the organic analogy. If these parts work together to pass on norms and values it creates a collective conscience, hereby creating social order. From the item we can see that Murdock saw the family as fulfilling the function of reproducing the next generation and socialising them into the shared culture. They believe the nuclear family is the most effective family for its function and is the most able to pass on the norms and values to create a collective conscience for the next generation. Murdock, a functionalist sociologist, says that the nuclear family is universal.
For example, Murdock believes that the nuclear family supports both the individual and the society. However, Edholm believes that it is the culture that families live in
Thirdly, socialisation of the young into society’s norms and values. Lastly, meeting its members’ economic needs. This includes food and shelter. Furthermore, the nuclear family stimulates and enabled growth in society’s economy with the purchase of consumer goods. Murdock argues that the nuclear family is the most practical institution in performing all four functions as well as it being wholly universal.
Murdock believed that the nuclear family was a universal institution that was vital to the well being of all societies and stated that the family's primary purpose is for sexual, reproductive, economic, and educational. Many people say murdocks analyse suffers from a failure to consider how other instructions can or could take over the functions of the family for example welfare state providing shelter. Parsons said even though the family had lost some functions it retained two basic and irreducible functions, they were primary socialization and stabilisation of adult personalities, parsons argues that society cannot exist without shared values norms and roles which are passed on from generation to generation and claims family's are needed for this purpose. The functionalists view of the family has been heavily criticised for being outdated and for presenting an overly optimistic view of the family. Many people criticise functionalists because they ignore the fact that not all families are perfect, another weakness of functionalists is that not all families can carry out all four of the functions for example gay families can't carry out the reproductive function.
George Peter Murdock found that nuclear families are universal. He also believed in 4 function of the family. These included of the nuclear family supplying a sexual function, as being a couple stabilises satisfaction of the sex drive with a constant partner and prevents social disruption, too supplies a reproductive function as being a family ensures new members of society to keep society going and an educational function as parents socialise their young into the norms and values of society. Also, he believes that the family have an economic function as they meet the economic needs of food and shelter. However, Murdock’s view of the nuclear family eliminate any other family structures, which too are able to supply these functions, and also neglects the conflict and exploitation of family.
Nuclear families include a mother, father and any children living in the household. Living as a nuclear family is believed to be the best arrangement to raise a family. Living with both parents is a more stable environment and provides a good role model by loving, caring and supportive relationship for their children. Having this in a nuclear family will translate into future success by teaching the children how to find positive relationships and interact well with others. Children also learn how to solve problems and assign household responsibilities and help each other through positive and negative issues.
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.
I believe these are the main points because they let the author speak his mind about his homeland. The first main idea is that any parent who can find use of their children should be recognized as high members of the community (Swift 249): “Whoever could find out a fair, cheep, and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the commonwealth would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation” (Swift 249). This is basically saying that if children are not a use to their parents they should try to make them useful. This also means that children can be forced to be useful. The next main idea is that children will provide an excellent meat source (Swift 250).
The nuclear family tends to provide a more stable household for an individual than a lone parent family would. The married or cohabiting couple within the nuclear family creates a role model of a loving, caring and supportive relationship for their children. This can help children to feel included and part of the family, as emotional support is provided as well as teaching the children how to seek positive relationships in the future and interact with others well. Emotional support is more likely to be provided by the mother, this is part of the expressive roles that the female is traditionally more likely to play within the nuclear family. The mother will provide emotional support such as comforting her children when they are upset, playing, talking and interacting with them, taking them to school and cooking and cleaning up after them.
How do Families influence individuals FUNCTIONALISM According to functionalists, an individual is given the best possible chance of success if he or she is raised in a traditional nuclear family. When a family consists of a breadwinner husband, a wife who maintains strong family relations, and their biological children, it conforms to the dominant set of values and norms in Western societies. As a result, the family performs its intended function within society and the children grow up to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted individuals. Conversely, children who grow up in nontraditional households (for example divorced or single-parent homes) are more likely to participate in deviant behavior. Although functionalism died out in the 1960s and 1970s, many Americans still consider the nuclear family the ideal family type and use it as a bench- mark against which to measure nontraditional families.63 When researchers consider the impact of divorce on children,the educational attainment of children from single-parent families, or the behavior of adopted children in same-sex families, they also use children from nuclear families as a benchmark for comparison.