FUNCTIONALISM

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  • FUNCTIONALISM
    • What is Functionalism?
      • society has common culture with shared norms and values
      • there is value consensus
        • agreement and shared belief in the same values
      • we learn culture through socialisation
      • all agents of socialisation are connected, working for society as a whole
        • Family
        • Religion
        • Peer Groups
        • Mass Media
        • Education
        • Work
      • look at and explain society as a system
      • Draw an Organic Analogy to explain how society works
        • representing the functionalist view through the human body
        • similarities between how all the organs in the body had specific individual FUNCTIONS but worked together to maintain health and life.
        • Herbert Spencer shared these views and popularised the term ‘organic analogy’.
        • created by Auguste Comte
    • Research
      • Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
        • founder of functionalism, said society exists above the individual. People’s behaviour is shaped by social forces
        • described shared norms and values as the ‘collective conscience’
    • Functionalism and the Family
      • Murdock (1949)
        • studied 250 societies and found the family, in some form, present in all of them – he therefore concluded that it must be necessary in some way
          • 2) Educational - agents of primary socialisation 0 passing on norms & values
          • 1) Economic - used to be a unit of production now a unit of consumption
          • 3) Sexual - sexually fufilled by parters & expectations of monogamous relationships keep society stable
          • Identified 4 functions of the family:
          • 4) Reproductive - reproduce in families which is vital for humankind
      • Parsons (1955)
        • saw pre-industrial extended family as evolving into the modern nuclear family - specialised in primary socialisation
          • refered to this change as the 'theory of fit' as family life changes to meet needs of society
        • refered to this change as the 'theory of fit' as family life changes to meet needs of society
        • called 'personality factories' churning out young citizens committed to rules, patters on behaviour and belief in systems which make involvement in social life possible
          • second function is that family fufils stabilisation of adult personalities throgh stress relief - the 'warm bath theory'
        • primary socialisation as a main function of nuclear families.
          • called 'personality factories' churning out young citizens committed to rules, patters on behaviour and belief in systems which make involvement in social life possible
            • second function is that family fufils stabilisation of adult personalities throgh stress relief - the 'warm bath theory'
      • Cheal (2002)
        • parents today are encouraged to believe they have a special responsibility to ensure every child grows up happy, strong, confident, articulate, literate and skilled
        • family acts as a bridge between family and the wider society
        • mothers main role as nurturing, the 'expressive role' with responsibility of childcare and housework
    • Strengths
      • shows importance of the family
      • stresses the positive aspect of the family
      • stresses importance of socialisation in upbringing children - learning and development
    • Weaknesses
      • ignores the dark side of the family
      • ne function is procreation - but some couples cant/dont want to have children
      • ignores increasng divorce rates and family diversity
      • ignore the role of individuals in shaping culture
      • deterministic - only one coutcome of a family
      • doesn't examine power inequalities between men and women
      • neglects conflict - culture does not always act as social glue

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