• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline and evaluate the functionalist and Marxist views on the family

Extracts from this document...


"Outline and evaluate the functionalist and Marxist views on the family" Functionalists believe that society has four prerequisites, these are; kinship, values, polity and the economy. Functionalists believe that all of the prerequisites have an equally important role within society and all contribute towards the other (e.g. the economy produces jobs that families need) to make society have consensus. Marxists believe that consensus in society is an illusion; they believe that society is in a state of conflict. This conflict is between the owners of the economic means of production (very wealthy people) and the workers. Marxists believe that the economic infrastructure shapes the social super structure. George Murdock a functionalist took a sample of two hundred and fifty different societies and came to the conclusion that the family is a universal institution with universal functions, these functions are essential for the well being of society. There are four primary functions that the family provide these are Sexual, Economic, Reproduction and Educational. The sexual function that a family provides is to set out the acceptable rules of sexual behaviour between people within their society. ...read more.


have been taken over by special institutions like schools and nursing homes. Talcott Parsons says the family has two basic and irreducible functions; the primary socialisation of children and the stabilisation of adult personalities. Primary socialisation is very important to the socialisation process, Parsons believes that every body must learn values and norms of society. If the family failed to provide this function there would be no consensus in society because people would not know how to interact with each other. Primary socialisation shapes the personality structure of a child, so much so that societies shared norms and values become part of the child. The second irreducible function is the stabilisation of adult personalities. Families help to stabilise adult personalities in two ways, first martial partners provide emotional support to one another. As parents they are able to satisfy the childish side of there personalities e.g. playing with there children. Marxists rejects the view of consensus in society, instead Marxists see the family as one of a number of institutions which maintains the position of the ruling class. ...read more.


Functionalists assume that families perform essential functions for society and members of the family. Married couples are pictured as living in harmony however some critics argue that this does not reflect true realities of family life. Functionalists often ignore the other side of family life e.g. conflicts between parent and child or husband and wife. Functionalists give insufficient attention to dysfunctional families and there affect on society. Parsons view of the family has been said to be sexist because he sees the wife or mother as having the responsibility of providing emotional support and de-stressing her husband. However Talcott Parsons was born in 1902 and this view of women in the household would not have been seen as sexist. Marxists views of the family follow Marxist theory. The family provides support for the workers and helps makes sense of the injustice of the economy. Sociologists generally agree that the economy has some influence on family life, however most sociologists would agree that that the family is not shaped by the needs of the system. ?? ?? ?? ?? Robert Elliott ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Different views on the family.

    Engles concluded that primitive humanity was the family, and that they lived similar to how chimps live. Engles found that the family evolved over time and only became the family we assume to be family now by the introduction of restrictions on relationships and the production of offspring.

  2. The purpose of this essay is to describe four studies relating to gender each ...

    The small-scale nature of this investigation makes generalisations problematic and in turn makes statistics difficult to produce. In addition, limitation of access to police and court documentation could present significant problems in detailing an accurate quantitative statistical estimate on domestic abuse.

  1. "Compare and contrast the functionalist and Marxist competing views concerning the purpose of the ...

    is necessary if society is to remain flexible and open to change." Crime brings together upright consciences and concentrates them."(4) The common values of the people underpin the whole complex system of the substructure of society it is vitally important for agreement and conformity for society to function correctly, thus the reason why the socialisation process is of vital importance.

  2. Is George Murdock's 'Nuclear Family' still, the norm in British society?

    Another reason I found that could be linked to the decrease in the nuclear family is that of the amount of people who have children out of wedlock. I found that 20% of the people I interviewed were lone parents.

  1. Outline Some Of The Key Tenets Of The Functionalist, Marxist and Interactionist Theories Of ...

    and behave well and not just as a take over form the family once the child is at school. For Marxists, education is apart of the superstructure of society. The superstructure is regarded as being ultimately subordinate to the base the economic organisation of society.

  2. Outline and assess the differences and similarities between the Functionalist and Marxist views on ...

    structure of society and detracts from the individual who operates within that society. To illustrate this viewpoint, Durkheim used the 'organic analogy' of the human body. In order for the whole (body) to flourish and prosper, all parts (organs) must work cooperatively and efficiently.

  1. This essay will explain the functionalist, Marxist and Social action theories of race and ...

    two is in perpetual motion, with both evolving and adapting to their new unfamiliar situation. Although Patterson admitted that relations between the West Indian migrants and their British host, had not developed past the initial stage of accommodation, she surmised that, following in the footsteps of their Irish predecessors, the

  2. Evaluate Marxist and Functionalist Views of Religion.

    According to Weber the concern of the sociologist should not be the essence of religion, he thought it was rather the task to understand religion as part of meaningful human behaviour. Functionalists look at religion in a very positive way.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work