Criticisms and evaluation of the functionalist perspective

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Criticisms and evalutation of the functionalist perspective

  • Downplaying conflict - Both Murdock and Parsons paint a good rosey picture of the family. However the family isnt all as postive as it seems. They ignore the 'darker side' of the family, such as violence and child abuse. Children may become emotionally disturbed by conflict between parents and children may often be used as scapegoats by parents
  • Being out of date - Parsons view of the 'instrumental' and 'expressive' roles of men and women is very old fashioned. Nowadays, both partners play expressive and expremental roles at various times
  • Ignoring the expolotaion of women - Functionalists tend to ignore the way women suffer from sexual division of labour in the family, with their responsibilty for housework and childcare undermining their position in paid employment, for example through restricted working hours becuase of the need to prepare children meals, take them to and from school and look after


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