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Examine the functions performed by the family for individuals and society

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Examine the functions performed by the family for individuals and society According to many different sociologists the family performs many different and important functions for society and individuals, I will be looking at the views of functionalist, the new right, Marxist and the different type of feminist and identify their theories and opinions on the functions performed by the family for individuals and society. Functionalists believed in a theory that the family is a positive institution. They hold the view that meets well with the needs of an advanced industrial society for a geographically and socially mobile workforce. Functionalists highlight the ideal family type in a modern society, as the nuclear family. The view of the nuclear family comprises of a breadwinner husband and dependant wife and children. Functionalist believe that society is like a biological organism like a human body for example and like the organs of a human body all the parts of society including family work together to make society run efficiently. As well as this functionalist believe that the family is both positive and useful for individuals and society, Talcott Parsons, functionalists, believes that one of the functions of the family is primary ...read more.


According to the new right the family is seen as the central stabilising feature of modern life, it promotes decency, manners, respect for property and the law, self reliance etc keeping with the functionalist views on the roles of society. New Right thinkers believe that the nuclear family has been undermined by social policies such as divorce legislation and welfare benefits; divorce is seen as "too easy" and benefits "too generous". The New Right is alarmed by the growing numbers of single mothers and the breakdown of the family is seen as the cause of rising crime and New Right thinking has had some influence on social policy - specifically making it harder for people to get benefits. However The New Right fails to acknowledge unequal relationships in families (exploitation of women) also The New right model of the family has been seen as intolerant and not inclusive - gay relationships, reconstituted families, unmarried parents and especially single mothers are all condemned by the logic of New Right thinking. Marxist believes that the bourgeois nuclear family emerged with capitalism, it is patriachical - it is designed to guarantee and perpetuate male power through the inheritance of property and therefore serves the interests of capitalism. ...read more.


workers at no cost to the capitalists - housework is unpaid labour and suggests that the family and women soak up male working class frustration instead of it being channelled against the capitalist system. Radical feminists believe that Patriarchy is central source of division in society, essentially men exploit women as husbands, partners, sons, brothers, this exploitative relationship is reflected in the family in which women do all the work for the benefit of men. Radical feminists also believe the family is an exploitive institution, the notion of 'family' excludes those who pursue different lifestyles and men will always exploit women and the family is the source of domestic violence Conclusion To summarise functionalist and the new right believe that the family has a positive influence on both society and the individuals of the family, functionalist say the family teaches the next generation the norms and values of society and stabilise the adults personality and the new right follows these functionalist views. However Marxist and feminist have a negative attitude towards the family, Marxist say the family serves the interests of capitalism and feminist say that the family oppresses women and keeps men in power. By Michael Burton ...read more.

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