Sociological Theories Essay

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Sociological theories and the family Family is one of society’s main and most important social institutions. It helps to make individuals productive members of society. As with all institutions, family consists of roles, statuses, values and a set of norms which are organized to help the overall society in specific ways. Family is viewed differently in different sociological theories: functionalism, conflict theory and interactionism. To understand the different views of family, we must first understand how the theory applies to family and how each theory affects the views of individuals of the family and the views of society. It is also important to know how each theory affects social change within the institution. Lastly, I will examine the similarities and differences of the theoretical views. The functionalist theory focuses on the way in which family gratifies the needs of its members and contributes to the stability of society (Schaefer, 2009, p. 292). The theory is concerned with the basic needs and the desire for social order and stability in society. Functionalist theorists have differing views on the exact functions that a family performs but they all agree that family is important for the function of society. Family is responsible for areas such as reproduction, protection and providing, education and sexual behavior. Sociologists working in functionalism see family as contributing to society’s basic needs and obtaining specialized roles in society. The introduction of industrialization led to family being less important in economic roles and moved the focus to reproduction, child-rearing and socialization (Giddens, 2008, p. 238). Functionalists believe that the family is a positive and beneficial institution in which family members receive nurturing, care and love. Functionalism focuses on how the individual is molded into better member of
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