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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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Introduction

Using information from the Items and elsewhere, assess the view that the nuclear family constitutes an ideal living arrangement for individuals and society. The nuclear family traditionally consists of a married heterosexual couple and generally two or three children. They are biologically related and share a common residence. Each member of the nuclear family has a role, the husband works to provide for and protect his family, while the wife takes care of the home and looks after the children. This is regarded as the ideal. Functionalists compare society to the human body, with each institution being separate yet unable to function without each other, like organs in the body. Family is regarded as highly important, both for the individual and society as a whole. ...read more.

Middle

He believed this fulfilled all the personal fuctional needs. Parsons says "families are factories for producing human personalities." He believed the family was important for the stablisation of individuals, but this would benifit society as a whole. The family is supposed to be somewhere relaxing for the husband to revive after working all day. This can also be referred to as the 'Warm Bath' theory, the bath being his family (somewhere for him to get rid of his stress). Functionalist views are seen to be very positive, and not reflective of real life. For example, child abuse, rising divorce rates and domestic violence are not taken into consideration. The validity of other family structures, or the diversity of the family is not considered. For example, functionalism tends to be USA, middle class based and therefore fails to recognise working class women who may not be able to rely on their husbands economic support. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the functionalist approach to the nuclear family appears to be biased, failing to recognise what may or may not be 'minorities' that function outside of the nuclear family 'norm.' For example, some societies take up free sexual relationships, with children being the equal responsibility of that society. There is nothing to say that this is 'wrong,' or that it is at all inferior to the so called 'universal' nuclear family, suggested by Murdock. The nuclear family, traditionally, doesnt promote equality for men and women, as men and women are expected to take up specific roles. Also, the 'positive' role models given to children are supposed to aid in their social awareness, but if children only see their parents in these roles, their views on what is expected on them may become very narrow. This could produce indivuals without open minds and the inability to think for themselves and form their own opinions. ...read more.

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