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

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Introduction

´╗┐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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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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.
5/5

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

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