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Functionalism and the family


Functionalism is a structural theory which means that it believes society and the way it
is organised is more important than the individuals who comprise it. Functionalists
examine the social institutions such as the economy, education, media, law, religion and
the family that make up…

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The introduction of the pill in 1960 allowed women to have control over their
reproductive rights.
Murdock's view is ethnocentric as it is based on the misguided view that
western societies are superior to other cultures.
The nuclear family isn't always positive and beneficial to its members such as

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Some say Murdock's views are too conservative and that they imply that certain
types of parenting such as single parent families and homosexual families and
not as good as the classic nuclear model for bringing up children.

Talcott Parsons- the most important contributor to the functionalist theory of the

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Stabilisation of the adult personality- parsons believed that the family takes away the
stress of modern day living or its adult members. This is called the warm bath theory.

Steel and Kidd-
agree with parsons
as they believe the
family provides a
warm, loving and
stable environment.

The emotional

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functionalists ignore the dark side of family life and can cause intense emotional
disturbance instead of being like a warm bath as parsons suggests.
2. Parsons' model could be seen as outdated as it is around 60 years old. in 2009 it was
criticised for ignoring family diversity such as…

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two-thirds of grandmothers who had given up work or reduced their hours to care
for their grandchildren were managing on a very low household income. The report
showed that while across demographic groups, one in three families rely on
grandparents to provide some kind of childcare on a weekly basis,…

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sexual compatibility and equality as well as companionship. Some are willing to go
through several remarriages to achieve these goals. However functionalists fail to
explain why more women than men initiate divorces.

The functionalist sociologist Goode believed that divorce rates have increased as the
nuclear family has become more isolated…

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Relocation to council estates after the demolition of inner city areas meant
that married couples were less reliant on relatives and more dependent on each
Educational success meant that couples were less likely to live in the areas they
grew up in as they moved away (i.e. they became…

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