functionalist perspective on the family

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  • FUNCTIONALIST PERSPECTIVE ON FAMILY
    • society based on a value consensus- everything co-operates well together to meet society's needs.
    • George Murdock (1949) says that the family provide 4 essential functions: reproduction, primary socialization, economic needs, sexual.
      • criticisms of  Murdock: other institutions can perform these functions
    • Parsons- the structure and functions of a specific type of family will fit the needs of the society of which it is in.
      • industrialized society and traditional pre-industrial society where the nuclear family fits the needs of the industrial society as it has evolved together because of..
        • geographical mobility= in the industrialised society people were expectedto move to where the jobs are and so for a smaller nuclear family this was a lot easier than a big extended family moving
        • Specialized agencies developed, which gradually took over many of the family’s functions. e.g factories took over economic function.
        • Parsons says as a result of these changes the nuclear family is left with 2 essential functions which are: primary socialisation of children and the stabilisation of adult personalities (warm bath theory)
    • Parsons says that the nuclear family provides men and women with clear social roles
      • Male- instumental role and women= expressive role
    • Fletcher- economic function not lost and previously families were a unit of production now instead they are a unit of consumption
    • critcism- ignores the social inequalities regarding gender and social class as conflict theories would say
    • criticism- ideas are too simplistic and ignore various other factors that do not make it all seem so 'ideal' and deterministic that every family provides the functions they say

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