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Functions of the family for individuals and for society

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Examine the different functions performed by the family for individuals and for society. (20 Marks) The Family performs different functions dependant on the view that you believe. Marxists and Structural Functionalists and both have different perspectives on the family. Marxists believe that the family indoctrinates their children into a false consciousness about the capitalist culture. Also, they think that the family divides the labour between the males and females in the household. Althusser, who was a Marxist came up with a theory of ideology, to support his idea of ideology he created ISA (ideological state apparatus). The ISA was a method of making the family think like the 'good little capitalists' that they are. For example; the family teaches us to respond appropriately to authority, this in turn then prepares an obedient workforce and good leaders for the future, thus helping the economy. ...read more.


Also, children are seen to be autonomous individuals, which means they are not entirely shaped by the family, therefore Marxism is too deterministic. Finally, maybe the family is not functional for capitalism, capitalism and well paid jobs is simply something which is functional for our familes. The Structural Functionalist perspective on the family includes the views of : G P Murdock, T Parsons, D Morgan, and W Secombe. G P Murdock has argued that the nuclear family in modern industrial society performs four major functions. These are; sexual, reproductive, economic and educational. Each of these four functions unites the family and bonds them. Murdock has asserted that no other body can match the efficiency of the family in these respects. ...read more.


Also, Morgan states that there is no reference to children who dominate there parents, as opposed to the 'two way interaction process between parents and their children. W Secombe is a Marxist, and he believes that the structural functionalists have over exaggerated the functional importance of the nuclear family for society as a whole. According to Secombe, families in the western society merely serve the interest of capitalist society. This can be explained by saying that the male worker of the family has to provide for his wife and children, this therefore means that he has to have a job and stay at work. As a result the society has a reliant male workforce, thus boosting the economy. In conclusion, the family performs different functions dependent on the perspective of the viewer. The Marxists and Structural functionalists both have strong and accurate views about the subject of the family. ...read more.

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