The approach presents the family as a family isolated from wider kinships because of the mobility required by labour markets in industrial societies. The image that functionalists create of the family involves the support for the nuclear family from the wider welfare state. It also suggests that any childcare for the family would be provided by non-family agencies, for example; playgroups. The usefulness of this ‘privatised nuclear family’ is that it gives closure within the family, allowing stability and support. It’s beneficial as there are male and female role models available for the children, and it gives the parents more control of how their children are brought up.
One of these policies is the divorce act 1969; which has made it easier for couples to get divorced. Due to this, marriage has become less sacred which has made the family unit weaker. Couples may get a divorce instead of trying hard in the relationship to make it better. Another law affecting the family is the new deal 1998; which makes it easier for lone mothers to get back into paid work. This was introduced by the Labour party, who Lewis argues have taken on the idea of ‘social investment in children’ seriously and have realised family forms are changing.
Most places provide two major options: in-home childcare and a daycare center. Several things need to be looked at when making this decision on where to take your child. The most important considerations are c reliability, cost, flexibility, safety, and the socialization process the child will go through given your chosen facility. Both options have pros and cons but it is up to the parents to deliberate out each choice and decide which one will better suit their child and their needs. During these tough economic times, everyone is looking for ways to cut back on their spending.
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. Parsons evaluated how the family provides solutions to the needs of modern industrial society and pre-industry society. Geographical Mobility is a need of modern industrial society as jobs now require people to move nationally or internationally for jobs. In today’s society, they’re are less extended families, making it easier for families to
Experiential Family Systems Therapy also identifies the importance of teaching families how to encourage and support one anothers individualism. During therapy a therapist must be genuine, collaborative, and rely less on techniques and more on their own awarenss (Berdondini, et, at., 2012). Multipgenerational Family Therapy is another theraputic treatment within the Family Systems theory, it investigates and identifies generalional roles in a family system. Murray Bowen, the founder of this therapy, identifies that emotional distress is often passed through generations (Corey, 2017). He further states that behaviors cannot be corrected without first changing family members (Corey, 2017).
For example education has a function to make sure people are educated and conform to works place norms. Functionalist sees the family as an important sub system. For example George Peter Murdock argues that the family performs four important functions; stable satisfaction of the sex drive, preproduction of the next generation, socialisation of the young and meeting its member’s economic needs. Other sociologists have criticised Murdock’s functionalist approach. Marxists and feminists reject his consensus view that the family meets the needs of both wider society and all members of the family.
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.
Parsons (1955) argues that nuclear families in post-industrialised societies, are more ‘specialised’ and isolated, particularly as independent units of consumption, due to factors such as increased geographical mobility and the breakdown of the extended family. This has reduced the essential functions to two; primary socialisation and stabilisation of adult personality (ibid). This stabilisation is seen as the ‘warm bath theory’, whereby the family provides a loving and supportive haven from the stresses of modern life, primarily for the patriarchal figure fulfilling the
Murdock argues that this makes the family a greatly important institution. In performing these functions the family links up with other institutions, providing things like the next workforce. Murdock argues that the family performs four basic functions which are: Stable satisfaction of the sex drive- which would prevent social disturbance e.g. rape, Reproduction of the next generation- without this then society wouldn’t continue, socialisation of the young- teaching societies norms and values, meeting its members economic needs- providing necessities such as food and shelter. 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.
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.