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

Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Examining the Functions of the Family 1. Explain what is meant by consensus? Consensus is an agreement among a majority of members of society that something is good and worthwhile, it?s a set of shared norms and values, into which society socialises it?s members 1. Identify the two essential functions that Parsons sees the nuclear family as performing? Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households? Functionalists believe that society is based on a value consensus; this is a set of shared norms and values into which society socialises its members. This enables society to work harmoniously and meet its needs and goals. Functionalists view society as being made up of a number of sub-systems that are dependent upon each other. These can include the education system, media, religion, and the economy. Just as the human body is dependent upon each of the functions in order to survive, society is dependent on each of the sub-systems. ...read more.

Middle

Through hard work people can achieve their status and earn top jobs such as a lawyer. For this reason Parsons argues that the nuclear family is better as in an extended family. The pre-industrial family had many functions; it was a unit of production where the family worked together perhaps on a farm and a unit of consumption, feeding and clothing for its members. It was more self-sufficient than the modern nuclear family. However according to Parsons when the family changed from an extended to a nuclear family in industrial Britain it lost many of its functions. For example the family ceases to become a unit of production. The family had just two irreducible functions these were the primary socialisation of children and the stabilisation of adult personalities. However, not everyone accepts the functionalist view of the family and its role. Marxists and feminists reject its consensus assumptions about who benefits from the family. ...read more.

Conclusion

Feminists argue that Marxists place too much emphasis on class conflict and not enough on the gender inequalities that exist between men and women. Also, Functionalists ignore the real benefits that the family can provide such as mutual support and intimacy. Feminists also take a critical view of the family. They argue that the family oppresses women. They see gender inequality as something that is created by society. Ansley describes women as ?takers of shit? who soak up the frustration of their husbands that they feel because of their exploitation and alienation in the workplace. Marxists feminists see the exploitation of women in the family as linked to the exploitation of the working class. They argue that the family must be abolished at the same time as a socialist revolution replaces capitalism with a classless society. Radical feminists argue that the family and marriage are key institutions in patriarchal society. Men benefit from women?s unpaid domestic labour and from their sexual services, and they dominate women through domestic and sexual violence of the threat of it. ...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

4 star(s)

A good piece of work examining the functions of the family using Functionalism. The writer clearly understands the theory and the different roles of the family. To improve the work it would be useful to locate the other views of the family in the context of functionalism.
The writing style was very good overall.
4/5

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. Examine the view that the nuclear family is universal. (24)

    One way is that the marriage was not a lifelong union: either party could terminate the relationship at any time. Also the visiting husbands had no duty towards the offspring of their wives. When a woman became pregnant, it was essential according to Nayar custom that a man of appropriate

  2. Discuss the view that the modern family is becoming more diverse

    Reconstituted families are a developing type of kinship in being able to connect emotionally; this being fairly new to modern society. We then have the lone parent family which is fairly obvious in its conclusion. There has been an incredible increase in single parent families since the 1970's.

  1. Gay Marriage - persuasive essay.

    Often, marriage leads to the desire for kids, and adoption is the only way that desire can be fulfilled for homosexual couples, which can tremendously affect the child's path in being raised as a normal kid. Psychological Reports, as mentioned in Paul Cameron and Ellen C.

  2. ASSESS SOCIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS OF CHANGES IN THE STATUS OF CHILDHOOD

    Conflict sociologists such as Marxists and feminists argue against the 'March of progress' view that the position of children has improved dramatically in a relatively short period of time. They argue that society is based on a conflict between different social groups such as social classes or genders.

  1. The nuclear family is considered the 'ideal'. Why and for whom?

    economic angle, functionalism views family life as positive to society, and yet completely ignores issues such as domestic abuse, gender inequality and rising divorce rates which are all common issues found especially within the conventional nuclear family. This potentially makes family life for the individual stressful and difficult and can

  2. Assess the view that the nuclear family is no longer the norm

    Mormons having plural wives in contrast to the more widely accepted monogamous family structure), social class (differences in family structure stemming from social class or income), life-stage (family structure differs depending on which stage you are in your life - a university student's family is different from a married mother)

  1. Britain as a child-centred society

    Neil Postman (1982) argues that childhood is disappearing due to two reasons. The first is that televisions expose children to the adult world where they can access it at any time. Secondly, he argues that children act less childlike whilst adults enjoy looking younger.

  2. Sociology Research Paper - To examine how teenage pregnancy affects the teen mothers health ...

    fewer nutrients than needed, they don?t have proper health care and lack proper social stimulation all of that can result in the possibility of underdeveloped intellect. The effects of teenage pregnancy are not just towards the mother and her child, theses teens are also may end up poor and having

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