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Using information from the items and elsewhere, assess the view that the nuclear family constitutes an ideal living arrangement for individuals and society?

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Using information from the items and elsewhere, assess the view that the nuclear family constitutes an ideal living arrangement for individuals and society ? I will begin my essay by looking at the functionalist perspective and how they see the nuclear family to be a positive institution within society. Then I will be raising some arguments by critics of functionalism i.e. Marxists and feminists. I will then try to sum up the perspectives and I will be adding my response. Functionalists see the nuclear family as the universal social structure. The Nuclear family consists of a Husband, Wife and their immature offspring. A key researcher of families in Functionalism is George Peter Murdock. He studies a wide range of families with a sample size of 250 different societies. From his research he concluded that taking account of the differences between societies the family still performs four basic functions in all the different societies. These are sexual (behavior / activity), reproductive (creating members in society), economical (clothing and food) ...read more.


He also believes that the family enables adult stabilization. The role of an adult being a parent is the most important and is the final stage in an adult's maturity. The fact that a father/mother can be childish and have a bond with his son/daughter enables him/her to have a retreat from the daily strains of mundane life. The flaws to the work of Parsons are, his views of the family appear to be very idealistic compared to that to the realities of families within society. He conducted his work on white middle class American families and this isn't representative of the other religious, multi - cultural, ethnic and different social class families in America. In modern society the family has built up an image of itself as being a rosy place were love manages to conquer all problems. The media of today is notorious for pumping out ideas that are thought as being the stereotypical family. These images and ideas of the family are universal although many of them are just idealistic. ...read more.


They believe that the family is a valuable economic stabilizing force in capitalist society, which has the function of producing and rearing cheap labour. Finally there is the Radical Feminist perspective that believes that the role of the family is important in maintaining male domination within society. Criticisms of both arguments are that both are theories, by and for women, and therefore see no need to compromise with existing perspectives or agendas. Although each perspective brings valid arguments to the table so to speak, I believe that each is being to specific in the roles of the family and its duty in society. My perspective on the subject is that the family and society are linked very closely and that the two feed of each other to create what is not always idealistic but important institution in which the young are reared into products within society. I also feel that the family is an important sanctuary to its members and agree with the fact that the family stabilises adult personality. The decisions that a parent makes are significant to both the child and the parent and therefore I believe forces out a sense of maturity. Anthony Reid Mr. Phillips ...read more.

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