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Does The Nuclear Family constitute an ideal living arrangement for individuals and society?

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Introduction

Does The Nuclear Family constitute an ideal living arrangement for individuals and society? This essay intends to critically analyse the nuclear family in order to determine whether it constitutes an ideal living arrangement for individuals and society. I will therefore look at different sociologists views on the nuclear family, whilst incorporating information from the items o come to a conclusion as to whether the nuclear family can be considered to be an ideal living arrangement for everyone. Traditionally, the nuclear family was one in which a family consisted of two parents- a mother and father figure and at least one child, whom lived on one house together. Functionalists today still see the nuclear family as a norm in modern industrial society, contributing to the well being of society through its functions; it is the primary agent of socialisation, teaching shared norms and valued- the members become 'personality factories' as Parsons called them. He also argued that the Beth theory is present in the nuclear family, the bath being the males family. (Somewhere for him to get rid of his stress.) Functionalists also say that the family functions in order to control members on a daily basis i.e. marriage functions to control sexual relationships. However, Functionalists views are seen to be very positive, and do not reflect real life. ...read more.

Middle

Marxists believe that the family, along with education systems and mass media pass on the ideology of the ruling class. Socialisation of this ideology of the ruling class therefore attempts to maintain false class consciousness by winning the hearts and minds of the working class- the expectation of 'good parents' means hat parents must work in order to provide material comforts and good life chances for their children, therefore, they were willing to work boring, unsatisfying and unrewarding jobs. This stopped them from taking action that might dispute the system. However, due to the industrialisation of society, these functions of the nuclear family can be disputed- there is a decline of marriage and growth of cohabitation- indicating that the nuclear family is not an ideal living arrangement for all individuals, and the fact that there are more births outside of marriage indicates hat it is not ideal for society either. Rising divorce rates, leading to re-marriage and the growth of the constituted family has lead to a decline in family size and the growth in 'single hood.' This could be seen as a weakening of extended kinship links and therefore, in modern day society, the functions of the nuclear family could be questioned. Although there may be some families and aspects of society that the nuclear family would seem ideal in their living arrangements to, the above facts indicate that this is not true of all families. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both Murdock and Parsons portrayed the image of the family as having well adjusted children and sympathetic spouses who care or each other's needs. Whereas functionalists say the family meets the needs of society by socialising children into shared norms and values leading to social harmony and stability, Marxists would say the family reproduces capitalism and meets the needs of capitalism by the ruling class norms and values, leading to a submissive and obedient workforce, giving stability for capitalism. For one reason or another, aspects of all these sociologists viewpoints of the nuclear family can be faulted and seen as both realistic an untrue in modern day society. In conclusion, although some aspects of a nuclear family remain today, an increase in the number of families such as single parent, foster children and the constituted family means that although there may be some families who feel that the nuclear family constitutes an ideal living arrangement for individuals and society, there are a large number of families who it would not be ideal for, whether it be because the male is not the breadwinner, as indicated in item b, because of a divorce in the family, or a birth outside of marriage leading to a "nuclear family" never being achieved, or being achieved and then lost. Therefore, the nuclear family can be constituted as an ideal living arrangement for individuals and society, but not for every member of society. ...read more.

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