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How functionalism contributes towards our understanding of families and society.

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Introduction

´╗┐Functionalism works to support society as a whole, It has been said that society is like a human body. Each organ is linked up with a part of society the idea explains about how independent each part is, it shows that if one part of the human body fails then it effects the rest of the body. This then links to society as if one part fails then it effects the rest of society as it has a knock on effect. All parts of society are inter related which explains why they all have to be maintained in order to have a successful society. A biological function is seen as the role that a part of the body has to play in order to keep the body alive, however a function in society is fairly similar but it is the part it plays in the social life as a whole and that contribution maintaines the structure. ...read more.

Middle

Does this mean that murdock does not think that these types of family have any functions or does he not class them as familys. He emphasises the sheer practicality of the nuclear family as it is a unit of production and therefore a unit of consumption which allows the flow of income as they get paid for work then they spend it of goods. Murdock challenges the idea that the nuclear family is socially constructed to fit the needs of society, this would explain why there is a lower number of nuclear familys now the family diversity is seen as socially acceptable. Talcott Parsons however see's that there are only two main functions a family perform these are primary socialisation of children and stabilisation of adult personalities. He argues that there are less functions than murdock explained, there is a loss of functions as it says that the family no longer perform the same functions that it once did. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion functionalism contributes towards our understanding of families and society as functionalism is what made these ideas up about how society is like a human body and the functions of a family are all same. Murdock says that the family has 4 functions and they are sexual, reproduction, socialising and economic. This promotes the nuclear family and shows it as the only family type, no family diversity is shown. Parsons then says that there are only two as there is a loss of function he says that they are socialisation of children and then stabilisation of adult personalities, these allow for more diversity but still are focused on the nuclear family. Functionalism makes us focus on one family type and pursuades us to stick to that type and not venture out to another. Marxists dont belive in this they reject the idea of who benefits from the family the most as it seems to be the men. ...read more.

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