Murdock and his views on the family

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Murdock- studied over 250 societies around the world and argued that the nuclear family was the universal ‘norm’. Murdock believed the best family structure to be the nuclear family.

Criticisms of Murdock’s views on the family-

·         The feminist movement has allowed women to be independent and not focus on marriage and having children but instead following a career

·         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 domestic and child abuse.

 Murdock claimed that the family has 4 functions;

  • Reproductive – this is essential for the survival of society – without reproduction, society would cease to exist. Society requires new members to ensure its survival – procreation generally occurs within a marital and family context.


  • Sexual – This function serves both society and the individual. Unregulated and uncontrolled sexual behaviour has the potential to be socially disruptive and to cause



This is so helpful, thank you!

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