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Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of family.

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Introduction

Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of family When considering the question, we need to understand that functionalism has contributed towards our understanding of the family. However other perspectives like Marxism and feminism have also played a part in the understanding of the family. Functionalism involves New Rights, and this is seen as political functionalism. New Rights believe that family is the crux of society, and it wanted society to return back to the days when you had the nuclear family. They disliked anything to do with lesbianism, homosexuality, and they were also against abortion and single parenting. New Rights said, because of an increase in single parents the housewife is forced to go to work and provide for the children. New Rights considered any type of family deviant, and argued that our society is becoming immoral. In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher blamed women for the increase in divorce. ...read more.

Middle

Functionalism also ignores diversity and inequalities in families. The Marxist view of the family would be different. The Marxist view of the family is developed from a class analysis of society. Marxists see society as a capitalist society, divided into two antagonistic classes. The Marxist view of the family starts with the idea of Engels as expressed in 'The Origin of the Family, Private and the State, published in 1884. Engels argued that the monogamous nuclear family developed to solve the problem of the inheritance of private property. Engels also said that the property should be passed on to the eldest male who is married. Marxists think the family is part of a superstructure, which passes on ideologies that justify inequality. This passing on of ideology enables the bourgeoisie to maintain control of the economic base. Marxists view of the family is an 'ideological conditioning device'. They also see family as oppressive, and inhibiting creativity. ...read more.

Conclusion

She felt that the only way to get equality would be to stop having children. This was called the 'Babystrike'. I think Laura Purdy's idea of the 'Babystrike' was a good idea for women to get equality, because men would also listen seriously to women and understand them more. The criticisms of feminism are that it ignores the joy and fulfilment found by women in motherhood. The call for lesbianism and separatism has little appeal to the majority of women. Women are also seen as passive victims and not co-makers of history. Feminism shows how housework benefits capitalism but fails to explain why women should be responsible for it. Overall, Functionalism has contributed to our understanding of the family in a major way. Murdock's definition of the nuclear family is accepted in society, because it forms part of the way we lead our lives today. Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism have affected or changed society in some way, and in particular functionalism, because a continuing and growing family contributes to the cycle of life. ...read more.

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