1) Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households
identify and describe some of the main features of the functionalist approach to the family. This should include Murdock's four essential functions.
George peter Murdock argues that the family performs four essential functions to meet the needs of society and its members:
- stable satisfaction of the sex drive = with the same partner, preventing the social disruption caused by sexual 'free-for-all'
- repoduction of the next generation = without which society could not continue
- socialisation of the young = into societys shared norms and values
- meeting its members economic needs = such as food and shelter
Examine Parsons 'functional fit' theory
Talcott parson states the functions the family performs will depend on the kind of society in which it is found, and the functions that the family has to perform will affect its shape or structure.
Pasons distinguishes between two types of family structure: Nuclear (parents and dependent children) and extended (three generations living under one roof)
Parson distinguishes between two types of society: modern industrial society and traditional pre-industrial society. He argues that the nuclear family meets the needs of industrial society while the extended family fits the needs of pre-industrial society.
Parsons sees industrial society as having two essential needs: a geographically mobile workforce = in traditional pre-industrial society people often spend their whole lives in the same village where as in modern society, industries constantly decline to different parts of the world where the jobs are. parsons argues that its easier for the nuclear family to move than the extended family. And also a socially mobile workforce = a modern industrial society is based on constantly evolving science and technology, parsons…