Contribution of Functionalism

744 Words3 Pages
Assess the contribution of functionalist to our understanding of families and households. Functionalists views are based on conviction that society is made up from critically important factors which have their own particular purpose in functioning of our daily life. They also believe that if one of the segments fails(e.g. education, family, economy), then other factors continuously follow the failure, and society cannot work correctly. A good example to illustrate it is imagining a broken pen or human body. If one of the parts or organs stops working, then it causes a chain of destruction and the object has to possibility to work appropriately. George Murdoch (1949) argues that the family performs four essential functions to meet the needs of society and its members. These functions are; economic needs, reproduction, primary socialisation and sex. He believes that those needs can only be achieved within a nuclear family. However, some sociologists would argue that these needs can be met in other ways than within the family. For example, other family types such as an extended family or institutions such as the Kibbutz in Israel can be used for primary socialisation and economic security. Other needs such as reproduction and sex can also be met by sperm donors or prostitution. Omitting potentially perfect theory, functionalism had to face some critisms coming from Marxists and feminists. Marxism is based on believe that society is based on class conflict, and all daily actions we make are capitalistic which is not right. Unlike to Marxism, feminism had its foundations in confidence that society is made up to serve all men’s needs within use of women. As we can see, the differentiation between these theories is huge but there are few aspects which we can bravely link together. A famous functionalist, Talcott Parsons created theory about two basic types of
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