Functionalist perspective on family

  • Created by: sydn3y14
  • Created on: 15-09-17 18:33
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  • Functionalist perspective on the family
    • What do they believe?
      • Society is like the human body
      • Systems in the body work together for the benefit of the whole
      • Each system is reliant on each other
      • Each system has shared rules so they are always in harmony with the other systems
      • There is 'consensus' between all systems
        • This consensus is started with primary socialisation in the family and then reinforced by every system in the body
    • How does their theory apply to the family?
      • The family is a system within the 'body'
      • Through socialisation children learn the 'rules' of their society
      • This ensures that society continues in its harmonious state
      • So the family is an important system within society - it is a building block for society
    • What are the strengths of these views with regards of the family?
      • Family performs essential functions for society and its members
      • Murdock - 4 functions
      • Parsons - 2 functions
        • The family is 'functionally fit' - it fits the needs of the society its in
      • Preindustrial - extended family
      • Industrial society - nuclear family
    • How has this view been criticised by other theory's/ writers?
      • Assumes the family is harmonious and ignore conflict and exploitation like child abuse and women's oppression
      • Assumes the nuclear family is universally the norm and ignores family diversity
      • Criticised by Marxists who see the conflict in society
      • Feminists criticised it for being oppressive to women - serves the needs of men
      • Functionally fit idea of parsons has been disprovem as there is evidnece of nuclear families in preindustrial time - (Willmott and Young - Lasslett) - often did not live long enough to see grandchildren


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