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Functionalist view of the family

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Introduction

Using material from item B and elsewhere, asses how the functionalists contribution to our understanding of the family Functionalists see the family as an essential sub-system which depends on other sub-systems. The family is a building block in society it holds it together. Functionalists believe families have to exists in every society because they meet the essential needs of society and individuals. Functionalists suggest that the nuclear family is the norm in modern society, where the roles are basically; a breadwinner husband and dependant wife and children. Within the nuclear family structure there is a clearly identifiable male and female role model. The function of the family (Murdock)- 1949 * Reproduction of the next generation * Stable satisfaction of the sex drive * Socialisation of the young into the shared norms and values of society * Taking care of family members e.g., economic needs, emotional needs. ...read more.

Middle

Many woman want to work, and earn money for themselves not be reliant on their husbands. If some women who have full time jobs do fall pregnant, and decide to have children our modern society has introduced 'Maternity leave' which enables working mothers to give birth, recover and then return to work. Also whilst on maternity leave they can still receive pay, dependant on their occupation, and afterwards nanny's and child care centres are available to help and support working mothers. Same sex couples are not yet recognised as a norm in society, but awareness is slowly growing. Functionalist place same sex couples in the 'underclass' category because they don't conform to their expectations. Also some functionalists would go as far as saying it is biologically necessary for a heterosexual relationship. Feminists would fiercely disagree with the Functionalists. They are mainly interested in the position of woman with in the family. ...read more.

Conclusion

They believe society is based on a conflict between the classes - working class "The Proletarians" and ruling class "The bourgeoisie ". The family helps to maintain class differences in society as the rich can afford to give their children a better start in life than the poor, e.g. pay for a better education, get them a good job either in their own business or their friends businesses, also they could inherit a lot of money. Marxists believe the family socialises the working class to accept that it is fair that the classes are unequal. "Others argue that functionalists have too simplistic a view of the relationship between family and structure, and the wider society" (Item B) In conclusion functionalists are very precise and assertive of the functions of our society. They have certain norms and guidelines that we should follow to be a 'functional society' some agree with the traditional ideas of the functionalists, and others disagree stating that a well functioned society can run without the functionalist ideas. Becki Jones ...read more.

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