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Sociology - Family

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Assess the view that the nuclear family is an ideal living arrangement for individuals and society There are many different arguments in sociology on whether the nuclear family, consisting of a mother, a father and their dependant children, is the most suited family type for both its members and the society in which it is based. Functionalists and members of the New Right would argue that the nuclear family is ideal, and is vital for the stability of society. Sociologists such as George Peter Murdock have argued that the family provides primary socialisation, which is key for the upbringing of their child. They claim that it helps them to fit in well with society. Murdock also says that the nuclear family provides four vital functions: sexual, reproduction, education and economic. ...read more.


Murray is against lone parent families, and say they are to blame for many of the problems in today's society, especially the individual behavioural problems in teenage boys. However, these theories could be argued against by critical views from those such as Leach and Laing. They claim that the nuclear family is actually damaging to society. Leach argues that the close-knit family group is a source of social and psychological conflicts that damages people and their lives. He says that because the family is such a tight institution, members have no choice but to take out their problems on one another. This therefore leads to mental breakdowns and psychological damage such as schizophrenia. Laing argues that the family is an emotionally exploitative institution, whereby problems within it are reproduced in society as a whole. ...read more.


The nuclear family isn't suited for the woman as an individual, and therefore causes problems for women in society as a whole. To conclude, it could be argued that the debate between the different perspectives is still on-going, and each have their own strong views on this topic. A functional nuclear family would be seen as perfect and a stable part of society, however are all nuclear families functional? Marxist's such as Engles looked at the deeper darker side of the family, showing that some families are dysfunctional and therefore they are not always the best family type in today's society. Although there are many positives on the family such as Murdock's theory, society as a whole needs to also realize that every family will experience some problems in its lifetime, therefore meaning that the nuclear family is not always the ideal family type in today's society. ...read more.

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