Functionalist approach on family

  • Created by: nicolegc1
  • Created on: 06-02-20 19:38
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  • Functionalist Approach on Family
    • Peter Murdock
      • Studied 250 societies
        • All different  forms of families structures had some structure of the Nuclear family Therefore NF being universal
      • 4 Main  Functions  of nuclear family
        • Economic (since kids don’t work)
        • Reproductive
    • Parsons
      • Studied pre-industrial society (18th century)
        • Found  a structural differentiation in the family structure
          • Which refers to the family loosing it’s role and the state taking over them
          • Structural  differentiationmade the family roles decrease into...
            • Primary socialisation
            • Stabilisations of Individuals’ personality
              • Two of which the state could never take over
                • Primary socialisation
        • Main roles  of family BEFORE structural differentiation
          • Educator
          • Healthcare
          • Producer (of food)
        • Main roles of family AFTER Structural differentiation
          • NHS
          • Supermarkets, restaurants ... etc
          • Education system
      • Nuclear family was the IDEAL FIT    for industrial society
        • geographically mobile
        • Separate  gender roles
        • Socially Mobille (within family structure)
    • argues that society is beneficial for the individual as it shapes them as they are passive which is +ve process for society. society improves all the time.
    • See it as a ‘hunky dory’ institution (when things go well)
    • Optimistic for only Nuclear family since it provides the best norms and values for the individual to be successful without society.
    • Evaluation
      • Functionalist don’t mention the dark side of family. E.g child abuse
      • Kibbutz  Families in 1900s formed well-balanced adults even though it was a collective family rather than a nuclear one
      • Ignores the family diversity in Modern Society even in the 1950s; there was reconstituted families or lone parents families but less common
      • Parson asssumes that ONLY N.F. Can carry out the essential functions of family effectively
        • When in reality, Individuals are constantly inventing living arrangementsand relationships which socialise children and provide emotional intimacy for adults.
      • Feminists argue that Parson’s view is sexist since it assumes that men and women will ‘naturally’ perform these roles when traditional family is based in male dominance and power. E.g breadwinner is the father.


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