• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe and discuss the Functionalist perspective in relation to the family.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Amie Wright Mrs Livings Sociology. Describe and discuss the Functionalist perspective in relation to the family. The Functionalist view of the family is the idea of the nuclear family, which involves a husband and wife, with their children. Within in the family unit, each member has a role, this is like the Functionalist view on society, that every part of society has a certain function, with the analogy of the body, and the different parts work together to allow society to function efficiently. The Husband in the family has an instrumental role, geared towards working hard and achieving at work, he is the bread winner for the family, and the Wife, an expressive role, which involves primary socialisation of the children and meeting the family?s emotional needs, she is the homemaker and a full time house-wife, rather than a wage earner. These roles in the family are what sociologists call segregated conjugal roles. This means that the husband and wife spend their days, as well as leisure time apart. Functionalists argue that this division of labour is biologically suited to the husband and wife, with women being naturally suited to nurturing and caring, and men being able to provide for the family. ...read more.

Middle

Industrialisation leads also to processes of structural differentiation which implies that new more specialised social institutions such as factories, schools and hospitals develop to take over some of the functions previously performed by families; 3. This means therefore that the nuclear family loses some of its functions but it remains crucial in relation to the two functions which it does retain: the socialisation of the young and the stabilisation of adult relationships; 4. Within nuclear families, roles are allocated between husbands and wives in accordance with the instrumental characteristics of males [which make them more suited to paid employment outside of the home] and the expressive characteristics of females [which make them more suited to childcare and domestic work. Talcott Parsons, a key Functionalist, argues that the nuclear family setup provides a safe haven from the outside world, therefore allowing for better socialisation of children, he is criticised however, by other sociological views, such as Marxists or feminists, that not all family groups are a safe haven, and that his view of the family being positive and based on a consensus, is not always true. ...read more.

Conclusion

Feminists would argue that the Functionalist view of the family encourages oppression of women because they are not equal to men, and they are not given the same opportunities. Marxists argue that the Functionalist view of the family sees the family structure, the nuclear family, as a way of benefiting and supporting capitalism because it provides future generations with a certain perspective on society due to their particular upbringing; therefore it provides strict, compliant workers for the economy. To conclude, there are so many criticisms of the functionalist view because it was the first theory to analyse and recognise the wider social roles of the family. This has meant that other sociological views, such as Marxists and Feminists have had room to find fault. Functionalism has received criticism for neglecting the negative functions of an event in the family, such as divorce. Critics also claim that the perspective justifies the status-quo and continuity on the part of society's members. Functionalism does not encourage people to take an active role in changing their social environment, even when such change may benefit them. Instead, functionalism sees active social change as undesirable because the various parts of society will compensate naturally for any problems that may arise. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Family & Marriage section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Family & Marriage essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critically examine the Functionalist idea that the nuclear family exists for the benefit of ...

    5 star(s)

    Men are seen to benefit from the family more than women. This is because it means women cannot compete on a level playing field for jobs or promotion opportunities as their first priority is childcare allowing a male dominate, capitalist society

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate the functionalist view of the role of the family

    4 star(s)

    What about the dark side of the family which functionalists don't include in their theory. A high proportion of violent offences and even murder takes place within the family and a growth of abuse is caused by a breakdown of family values.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Examine the contribution of functionalist explanations towards an understanding of the family

    4 star(s)

    it produces children who in turn become the work force and those children are to be obedient to their capitalist employers ('Marxists', 2008). Marxists see women as victims of oppression, offering cheap childcare and only being encouraged to work when the economy demands it.

  2. How cultural deprivation affects the educational attainment of students.

    The class of students may affect their educational attainment. For example; a working class lone parent may find it hard to support the family therefore children may choose to get a job to help support the family. My study can be followed up in a number of ways. A larger sample can be used.

  1. Culture & Socialisation

    Giving the daughter responsibility can be a positive sanction as it shows that the daughter is growing mature and can also be trusted. However in some circumstances, completing household tasks can be used as a negative sanction for bad behaviour, whether the child is a boy or girl.

  2. Is the nuclear family in decline?

    the irretrievable breakdown of marriage was to strengthen the position of women in deciding what type of family they want to be. The new right thinkers claim that welfare policies have encouraged diversity of the family and this is seen as deviant.Ferminist like Ann Oakley disagreed with the views of

  1. Assess the functionalist view that the family is functional for its members and society

    Therefore Marxists argue that as a consequence of these, the family functions to sustain unequal structures outside of the family. Secondly, Marxists suggests that families act as a safety valve dampening down discontentment. Zaretsky insinuates that the more work becomes hard and an unhappy place; the closer the family become

  2. Sociology and the Family

    households consist of couples with dependent children, and contrary to stereotypical belief, 61% of British Asian families are nuclear, as opposed to extended (as cited in Haralambos and Holborn, 2008). Elderly Asians may be deceased or still living in their respective country which could account for the unremarkable amount of British Asian extended families (Berthoud, 1997).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work