Functionalist Theory Of The Family

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The Sociology Of The Family Jazmin Ezenekwe
Functionalist Theories of the Family
They see the family as playing a major role in achieving social goals such as transmitting
values and norms to reproduce consensus and therefore the culture of a society. They
basically look at all the benefits and functions that the family performs for all societies.
The Nuclear Family
A traditional married heterosexual couple with 2 or more children that are a product of
romantic love
Murdock (1949)
Did a study of 250 societies and claimed that the nuclear family is a universal
institution vital to the well-being of all societies.
He identified 4 functions:
Sexual Reproductive
The family prevents disruption to a society by The family ensures the reproduction of a
limiting sexuality to monogamous next generation which is vital for the survival
relationships, prevents conflict that could of society and humankind.
arise from sexual desire- keeps society
Economic Educational
The family acts as an economic unit, The family transmits the norms and values of
ensuring the survival of its members by that society onto the next generation-
providing food and shelter- in the past it was providing a stable environment so they can
a unit of production e.g. family farms- today a be socialised into that culture- - they are an
unit of consumption, buying goods and agency of socialisation.
services for the family.

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