Functionalism and the Family

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Functionalism is about the structure of the nuclear family a self contained unit fulfils important functions to keep society running smoothly which Murcock (1949) claimed it is universal. Functionalism states that the family is an institution, which gives the individual members stability in society at large. Functionalists feel that society would not exist without the family. Murdoch argued that the family has evolved around sex, emotional stability, education and economic provision. Durkheim and Parsons were concerned with research that institutions have on society. Functionalism is often referred to the consensus theory as it does not address conflict within society. Durkheim (1892) was interested in the effects of laws, religion and education has on society. Functionalists see social order as an ‘organic analogy’, like a human body, in which all parts of society inter-relate and combine in various ways. To make society work, it has to function in harmony, like a body; this is called the consensus theory. Parson’s developed the idea of roles in the collective called institutions such as family, religion, peer group, legal and economic systems that complement each other in fulfilling functions in society. Radcliffe Brown saw institutions as the key to maintaining the global social order. Institutions are the structures of social order and co-operation, governing the behaviour of individuals within human race collectively. Merton???? The family passes on culture, teaching children right from wrong and how to behave within society. The government (institution) provides education for children, on which the family is dependent to help children grow up enabling them to get better jobs. This is cyclical because it then is passed on to the next generation. In return, families pay tax on which the state depends. If this all goes well, there is order and
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