Outline and assess functionalist and new right views on the family This essay aims to explore the views of the functionalist and new rights approach on the family. Functionalists argue that the family is the most important institution in society as it benefits both the individual and society. They have the most positive view on the family, and state that it performs vital functions for the maintenance of society. Their main emphasis is on the nuclear family which is the stereotypical family of married, heterosexual parents with children - they tend to ignore any other family types. The approach presents the family as a family isolated from wider kinships because of the mobility required by labour markets in industrial societies.
I use my reasoning skills to “determine both the universal rules that each person should follow (autonomy) and the processes that will assure fairness and justice for all in the community (equality)”. I also learned about my core values, that interdependence is my goal. And combining the rights of individuals with what is best for the community. I am more rational than sensible, I believe in universal rules that apply to everyone. My classic values are temperance and justice, I value individual and social balance within the community.
Marxist believe the conventional families are the foundations of capitalism it does this in many way; Private property inheritance, Marxists believe that all functions of the family are performed purely for the benefit of the capitalist system. One of the key factors determining how our society plays in to the hands of capitalism is was who inherits Private property. Engles, Marx friend and supporter, argues that a monogamous nuclear family has become essential in society as men had to be certain of the parentage of their offspring to guarantee that their legitimate heir inherit from them. In Engels eyes this made for a ‘historical defeat for the female sex’ suggesting that woman were now under men’s control and just mere of object to provide offspring to become a heir to the inheritance. Marxist altercate that woman will never receive liberation from patriarchal control with the means of capitalism and private ownership nearby.
Social consensus is a key belief of functionalism. It allows society to continue to progress because the theory believes that we have shared norms and values in society which we must follow. Another sociological perspective that I will be explaining will be Marxism. It is a structuralist theory but it is based on conflict rather than consensus. Marxists believe that the bourgeoisie (people in a higher social class) exploit people that are in the working class to make their profits.They argue that institutions are organised to benefit the ruling class.
I shall asses points for and against this argument and conclude. Karl Marx (a Marxist sociologist) believes that the education system preforms two main functions in a capitalist society. Firstly, Marx believes the education system reproduces the inequalities and social relations of production of capitalist society. In contrast, the government claim that the education system provides equality and education to all which surely would not serve to maintain a capitalist society. Marx’s first point suggests that education surely does not provide equality, this is for reasons being that education is a meritocratic institution that only benefits the student which conform with the desired qualities, such as doing as they are told and being high academic achievers.
The humanistic approach has been praised for its great emphasis on autonomy, the idea that we have control over everything we do. The approach also emphasises positivity and is immensely positive about human nature. Therefore it is no surprise that one of the main assumptions of humanism is that we are involved in life as opposed to being an abstraction to it. Humanistic psychologists also believe that all people have a strive towards self actualisation, a state in which we are at peace with the world and ourselves. Maslow presented the idea of the hierarchy of needs, a table that describes how one passes through stages in their life to become self actualised.
A criticism of Murdock’s theory is that other institutions can for fill some of the functions that the family performs for example the education system or the media. Marxist and feminist have also opposed his claims saying that functionalists don’t take conflict or exploitation into consideration. Feminists say that the family teach the needs of men and oppressing women so they believe that the functions the family perform all contribute to male dominance and ruling over women. Marxist says that this meets the needs of capitalism but not the family members or society all together. They suggest that the functions that the family perform all help capitalism for example the function of the next generation Marxist see it as reproducing the next generation of workers.
“That is the secret of happiness and virtue-liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny” (22). Just like the Director of Hatcheries says, happiness is liking what they do, and if they prefer it to all else they therefore won’t want anything unattainable, because they already have what they’ve been conditioned to want. Another way the World State ensures stability is throughout the promotion of promiscuous sex. “Every one belongs to every one else” (40).
Functionalist contribution to our understanding of the family Within sociology there are many different views on family whether it is a positive or negative part of society which includes functionalism, New Right, Critical views, Feminism and Marxism. They have a different functionalist contribution to our understanding of the family. Functionalist view the family as an institution which improves society by obtaining equilibrium, social order and stability while at the same time meeting the needs of all the member in society. They see the nuclear as positive fort society. For example, Murdock saw the family as reproducing the next generation and socializing them into the shared culture.
I learned that each person has the responsibility to not only pursue opportunities to advance oneself and create more happiness but also that each person has a responsibility to family. Simply put, I inherited a way of seeing the consequences of my actions, and have been able to develop discernment whether such an action will produce more or less total happiness. Even with aspects of my values and ethics such as responsibility for the family, it is easy to see how being responsible and investing care to my family creates overall for myself and