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Assess the Functionalist view that the nuclear family is the best fit for society.

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Chris Kelland Assess the Functionalist view that the nuclear family is the ?best fit? for society. ________________ Functionalists believe that the family is a universal institution and must therefore perform some universal functions. They think that the nuclear family is the only family that can perform these universal functions and that the nuclear family is the ?best fit? for society. I am going to discuss two functionalists called Parsons (1995) and Murdock (1949) there views are from the same time period so they will both be of the same time significance. I will also be discussing the view of Marxism and feminism that conflicts with the functionalist view. First I am going to discuss the view of G.P Murdock (1949) The Consensus Theory. He says that the family have four basic functions: to relieve Sexual needs, to reproduce, to provide primary socialisation for young children and to provide economic support for the family these make the nuclear family ?best fit? for society. ...read more.


Parsons also makes the clear mistake of not allowing for class, religion, ethnic or status groups within which the family operates. This is a massive criticism because it means that he dose not account for the fact that the nuclear family is not the ?best fit? in all cultures. Another criticism of Parsons is that he dose not talk about the de-stabilisation within the family. These two functions do relate to our current society because if the family we live in is not both socially and geographically mobile then we will not be able to succeed as well in our capitalist society. Next I am going to talk about how Marxists view the nuclear family and there views on whether it is the ?best fit? or not. Marxists believe that the nuclear family is not the ?best fit? for society this Is because they believe that we should revolt to communism which is where we all are equal both in gender and wage income so an office worker will earn the same as a Tesco cashier and that we should all live in tight extended communities with a loose family structure. ...read more.


Another strength is that it the nuclear family can fulfil all of the essential functions of the family but with very few people and with a limited amount of funding and resources. Another weakness is that the nuclear family does not fit in to all cultures where they have communist tribes and where people rely on and horizontally and vertically extended family to provide socialization of children. In conclusion I agree with the view of the Functionalist that the nuclear family IS the ?best fit for society. This is because Murdock?s 4 main functions of the family can all be easily provided but the nuclear family with minimal interaction with social institution except the education system (School). Parsons 2 function of the family can also easily supported by the nuclear family. Even though Marxist don?t agree with the nuclear family the principle of communism has been repeatedly be proven not to work. Therefore I believe that the nuclear family is most convenient and is the ?best fit? for our society. However I also believe that this is not the ?best fit? for some other societies such as tribal communities. ...read more.

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