Functionalists View on the Family

570 Words3 Pages
Murdoch says that the nuclear family is "universal and natural", however, by taking a cross cultural look at families this has been proved to be blatantly false. Feminists also argue that the functionalist view of the expressive and instrumental roles as natural are in fact socially constructed. Feminists also disagree with Murdoch's idea that the nuclear family is natural, believing that there is no preferable family structure and encourage family diversity. Feminists would argue that the functionalist view of the family encourages oppression of women. Marxists argue that the functionalist view of the family views those family structures which support and benefit Capitalism and that the nuclear family is part of the superstructure with the sole purpose of perpetuating a capitalist system. They also believe that the family socialises its members to accept the false consciousness that capitalism is good for all and that the government helps the people through healthcare etc. Marxism also rejects the functionalist idea that society is based on consensus; they would say that current society is based upon a conflict between the small powerful ruling class and the working majority. Both Marxists and feminists disagree with the functionalist idea that each organ of society exists for the benefit of society itself and for its individual members, they believe that they exist for the benefit of the ruling class of either capitalists or men, respectively. Talcott Parsons' Fit Thesis states that the Modern Nuclear family evolved to meet the needs of an industrial society. However, Parsons' theory has been widely criticised by historical evidence, notably studies by Laslett and Anderson. Laslett disproved Parsons' idea that the majority lived in extended families before the industrial revolution by using parish records in England from 1564-1821, which showed that
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