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Outline and evaluate the factionalist view of the family

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Outline and evaluate the factionalist view of the family Functionalism is a theory. A theory based on "value consensus". Functionalism is based on the view that society is a system of interdependent parts held together by a shared culture or value consensus (an agreement amongst society's members about what values are important). Functionalist theories assume the different parts of a society each have their own role to play (their own "function"), and work together smoothly in order to form a harmonious whole (macro). The metaphor often used to describe functionalism is that it views society as a body, with the different socialisation agents -government, media, religion, the family, etc., and, of course, education-being like the different organs in a body, each contributing in a different way to keeping the entire body healthy. Functionalism assumes that the various institutions of a society always operate so as to support that society as it is. If they didn't, the society would perish; therefore, functionalism believes, it's safe to assume that they do in any society one may encounter, for otherwise the society would no longer be here for us to study. Functionalism is based on value consensus which provides stability and functional prerequisites. There are many different functionalism theorists that explain what the families function and view is apoun the family within society. ...read more.


childcare, welfare, education ect. One sociologist, however, called Fletcher argues that the family is even more central (functional) to the social solidarity of modern society because the state has made people more aware of the importance of good childcare ect, so the family members play more of an important role in these areas and not less. Regarding the economic function of the family, Fletcher says the family is still important to society but that it has changed. It used to be a unit of production but now it is a unit of consumption. The criticisms of the functionalist view of the family are as follows: Functionalists seem to see the family as a "safe haven" when they ignore some of the very negative things that happen within this unit. Domestic violence. The woman's aid federation defines domestic violence as: "Physical, psychological, sexual or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family type relationship and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. It may involve partners, ex partners, household members or other relatives." According to the British crime survey, domestic violence accounts for almost a quarter of all violent crime. Catriona Mirrlees-Black's survey of 16,000 people estimates that there are 6.6 million domestic assaults a year, involving physical injury. ...read more.


Marxism is seen as not functional for the whole of society, just capitalists. Althusser makes an important distinction between: * The ISA * And the RSA He suggests that the family appears to be a private institution, but really the subject of much state control. Within the family, ideologies are socialised into each new generation, making them accept how society is. But according to functionalism, they see social control as positive, creating a balanced of orderly world to live in, Marxists see social control as the ability of a ruling powerful group to control the rest of society, creating inequality. I believe that the Marxists view upon the family is more realistic. In conclusion although the functionalist theories state their reasons to the positive side of the family, they seem to ignore the dark side of the family in which they can not explain. Critically, I think in reality, their belief has too many flaws and needs to be more open minded towards the other diversity of families and cultures. Perhaps I am too pessimistic, or have a biased opinion but the functionalist view seems to be too idealistic, too perfect and they want to ignore other verities of society because it doesn't seem to fit into their picture. Functionalism is supposed to be all about creating an equal balance, but how can it create a balance if it seems to believe that other types of families cause decay to society? ...read more.

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