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

Outline and evaluate the functionalist view of the role of the family in society [33 marks]

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Outline and evaluate the Functionalist view of the role of the family in society [33 marks] Murdock, a functionalist, describes the family as a universal institution based on the nuclear family model. The functionalist view of the role of the family in society is that it maintains social order. The family is a tool for socialisation and a key social institution in sustaining the value consensus. Murdock identified four main functions of the family: the sexual, reproductive, economic and educational. These four functions cover the role of the family in society. The sexual and reproductive functions are what keep society populated?if they became dysfunctional then society would not have the people inhabiting it. The economic function is the parent?s responsibility to take care of their family financially, usually through the division of labour where the man will take ...read more.


This is a key role of the family to functionalists?if this function is not carried out appropriately then society will become dysfunctional. The weakness in this argument is that it can be seen that functionalists adopt too much of an idyllic view of the family and that while some hindrances may occur it may not necessarily result in a dysfunctional society. Another functionalist thinker, Parsons, agreed with Murdock?s educational function. He stated that one of the main functions of the family was the primary socialisation of the children?this is to equip them with the norms and values they need to succeed in society. If they are not successfully socialised they will not fit the value consensus and will not be able to function in the society. ...read more.


Those extended families broke off into their own isolated nuclear families because they are more mobile and could move for the new opportunities offered from industrialisation. Also, that the need for the extended family has become less apparent because of state provisions such as education and healthcare. Overall, the functionalist view of the family in society is that of maintaining the harmonious society of the day. A key factor in that is socialisation?this is important in creating the value consensus that is needed to keep society functioning. The role of the family can also be seen to be populating society and being the guideline for sexual relationships of its adult members. Although they?re a criticisms and weaknesses to the functionalist view of the family it can be seen that the family does operate under the functions identified by functionalist thinkers and therefore the view can be seen as accurate. ...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

A very good piece of work looking at the functionalist view of the family. All the key viewpoints have been covered, with some excellently critiqued using other theorists.
There are a few odd grammar errors - proof-read carefully.

Marked by teacher Diane Apeah-Kubi 28/06/2013

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

    Outline and evaluate the Marxist view of the family

    5 star(s)

    In this way, it is seen in a positive manner as something that the supports the idea of class conflict, which Marxism is fundamentally based upon.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the factors affecting the domestic division of labour and power relations between couples.

    4 star(s)

    However results showed gradual shifts towards husbands doing higher percentages of domestic work. This study uses reliable data which makes the study more reliable and useable to back up the theories. However it uses research from two different sources which means this could be unreliable.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the View that the Family is a Universal Institution

    3 star(s)

    People were persuaded by concepts of togetherness and sharing feelings and experiences. This is an enjoyable and practical social framework, which shares domestic work evenly between men and women. In my opinion, the commune movement is not a family because they are not related.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the sociological views of the relationship between the family and industrialisation

    3 star(s)

    He also suggested the ?functional fit? theory, the nuclear family could move from place to place in search of jobs which meant the family became geographically and socially mobile and were not so dependent on the wider kin.

  1. Examine the effects of industrialization on the structure of the family

    The change due to industrialisation that Anderson talks about is similar to Young and Willmott view of stage two and Andersons study proves that what they have claimed are more or less correct. In addition other sociologist used the same theory as Anderson; Tamara Hareven (1999)

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

    are that they must have social and geographical mobility this makes them the ?best fit? for society. This means that they must be able to have there children follow in there fathers footsteps (social) and they must be able to move around easily from place to place to get the best job possible (geographical).

  1. Assess the view that marriage is no longer a popular institution in todays postmodernist ...

    women have gained independence as a result of feminism and because of greater opportunities in education and employment. As a result, the basis of marriage and the family has changed into one in which couples are free to define their relationships themselves, rather than simply acting out roles that have been defined in advance by law or tradition.

  2. Assess sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today

    Ulrch Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernheim (1995) call this the negotiated family. Negotiated families do not conform to the traditional family norm, but vary according to the wishes and expectations of their members, who decide what is best fro themselves by negotiation.

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