Sociology - the Family

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Within Sociology the family is defined as a primary social group that consists of parents and their offspring all living together to form a very close social group. This present essay will compare and contrast the difference between four perspectives, these being, the Functionalist, Interactionist, Feminist and the Marxist perspective. The functionalist approach believes that society is a structure of connected parts that work together to maintain a social balance for society. For example they believe that each social institute adds individual functions that are all important to the society. The family for example contributes a lot toward society as it is the main route of reproducing the population and teaching them the important lesson of socialization as they grow. Functionalists believe that the family introduces traditional culture to the new members of society and creates well joined members of society. The family is seen to provide important statuses that will be well known in society and recognised statuses such as lower class and higher class along with defined background history to new members. The family is seen to be responsible for replacing and reproducing new family members when the older generation pass away. Furthermore functionalists believe that families offer material and emotional security and provide care and support. It was in the words of G.P. Murdock where he defined the meaning of the family: "The family is a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It contains adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults." ~ (George Peter Murdock, 2004) Murdock (1949) went on to describe four main functions of the family which included; sexual relationships, economic cooperation among
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