Functionalist Perspective on the Family

319 Words2 Pages
Functionalist perspective on the family Functionalists believe that society is based on a set of shared norms and values, into which society socialises its members. This enables them to meet society’s needs and achieve shared goals. -Functionalists regard society as a system made up of different parts or sub systems that depend on each other. -Functionalists often compare society to a biological organism like the human body. 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. So therefore the nuclear family is
Open Document