The functionalist view of the family
Functionalists have an optimistic view of the family and they believe that the family plays an important role for the rest of society.They also believe that instituitions help society to run smoothly so therefore the functionalist's view of the family look for the positive benefits and functions of the family. They also argue that it is beneficial for both those who are members of families and the rest of society.
George Peter Murdock, a functionalist, believed that the nucleur family was a universal insitution that was vital to the well-being of all societies. He carried out a study of 250 societies and the study resulted in identifying four functions of the family. The first function was the sexual function which meant the family helps prevent disruption to society by limiting sexuality and preventing the conflict that might otherwise result from sexual desire. The next function is the reproductive function which means the family has to ensure the reproduction of a generation is vital for the survival of the future society. The economic function is when the family acts as an economic unit to ensure that their members survive by providing food and shelter. The last function is the educational function which is where the family provides a stable environment so young individuals can be socially included into the culture of their society.
Talcott Parsons studied the basic and irreducible functions of the family in American Society and his results were that even though the family lost some functions it retained two basic and irreducible functions. The first one is Primary Socialization which occurs within the family before school. Parsons believes that the family has to mould the young individual's personality to fit the needs of society, this is achieved by the internalisation of the society's culture and the structuring of the personality. The second one was the stabilization of adult personalities, for example in...