Topic 3 the functions of the family

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  • Created on: 15-04-15 12:04
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  • Topic 3- Functions of the family
    • The functionalist perspective on the family
      • Murdock(1949) argues that the family performs four essential functions to meet the needs of society and its members
        • 1) Stable satisfaction of the sex drive
        • 2) Reproduction of the next generation
        • 3) Socialisation of the young
        • 4) Meeting its members economic needs
      • Criticisms of Murdock
        • Marxist and feminists reject Murdock's harmonious consensus view that the family meets the needs of both wider society and all its members.
          • They ague that functionalism neglects conflict and exploitation
      • Parsons; 'function fit' theory
        • Parsons distinguishes between two types of family structure:   -The nuclear family(of just parents and dependent children)  -The extended family(of three generations living under the roof.
        • Parsons argues that the particular structure and functions of a given type of family will 'fit' the needs of the society in which it is found.
        • In parsons view, when Britain began to become industrialised, the extended family began to give way to the nuclear family
          • This is because the emerging industrial society had  different needs from the pre-industrial society, and the family had to adapt to meet to these needs.
          • 1) A geographically mobile force:
            • Parsons argued that it is easier for the compact two-generation nuclear family to move, than for the three-generation extended family
              • The nuclear family is better fitted to the need that modern industry has for a geographically mobile workforce
          • 2) A Socially mobile workforce:
            • In modern society, an individuals status is achieved by their own efforts and ability, not ascribed (fixed at birth) by their social and family backgrounds
              • Parsons argues that the nuclear family is better equipped than the extended family to meet the needs of industrial society
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