2) Functionalist Perspectives

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Functionalists see the Family as a functional prerequisite of society.

Murdoch said the family has 4 key functions:

  • sexual – expressing sexuality in a way which is socially acceptable
  • Reproduction – needed to provide a suitable way to raise children
  • Socialization -  “primary socialization” helps teach children socially acceptable behaviour and values of the society (value consensus)
  • Economic - provides food and shelter for family members

Parsons argues that there are 2 main functions of the family, Primary socialization of children and stabilization of human personalities.

  • Primary socialization of children – Parsons said society would not function if the family did not socialize future generation into the value consensus, culture, language, history and morals of today society.
  • stabilization of human personalities – The pressures of modern society can “destabilize personalities”. Parsons said…


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