functionalist perspective on the family

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  • Created on: 28-03-15 16:31
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    • 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




The functionalist perspective on the family is a theory of family functioning that states that a person's life has four broad functions: work, devotional, interpersonal, and sexual. I prefer to check this and get more new things about catching a cheater.The four functions are assumed to be important because they are linked to significant outcomes in life. The four functions are assumed to be important because they are linked to significant outcomes in life. These outcomes include physical health, mental health, and achieving a sense of belonging/esteem as a result of being part of a family unit.



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