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

Using material from Item B and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of functionalism for an understanding of the family

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Using material from Item B and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of functionalism for an understanding of the family The Functionalists see the family as an important and vital institution in society. They take a MACRO view and look at interdependence between the family and other organisations. Functionalists look at the positive parts to society but overlook the negatives. They emphasise on the value consensus and see the family as being universal. Other people's outlooks disagree with this view, such as the Marxists, the Marxist Feminists and the Radical Feminists. Item B describes the way in which functionalists view the functional pre-requisites or the essentials of societies if they are to survive. Functionalists' writers such as Murdock suggest that the nuclear family is such an important social institution, that it is found in some form in every single society. In other words, it is a universal institution. Murdock based his claims on the studies he completed on two hundred and fifty different cultures Murdock also suggests that functional pre-requisites must be met to ensure that society does not 'die out'. These four pre-requisites are; sexual, expressing sexuality in a socially approved context, reproduction, where the family provides some stability for the for the reproduction and rearing of children, socialisation, ...read more.

Middle

The husband carries out an instrumental role as the family breadwinner, which leads to stress and anxiety and threatens to destabilise his personality, but the wives expression role relives tension by providing love and understanding: the sexual division of labour into the 'expressive' and 'instrumental' roles therefore contributes to the stabilisation of human personalities. This theory has been referred to as the 'warm bath theory' as the family is supposed to have the ability to sooth away all the aches and pains which is theoretically supposed to derive from the instrumental role. However, now that role is out-dated it makes this theory less useful. Women now go out to work and therefore would share this instrumental role. He [Parsons] only rights about the middle class families in America, so therefore his opinion cannot be used across the board. He also overlooks family diversity, much as Murdock does, and does not consider situations like reconstituted or lone parent families. Parsons also assumes that all families get along, like all functionalists he over harmonies the good aspects of family life and pays no attention to the many bad points that families occur. ...read more.

Conclusion

The amount of diversity and variation within the family has changed so much, and not only has it changed it has become socially acceptable. A major cause in the soaring rates of lone parent families has been the sharp rise in divorce rates, 75 percent of these being initiated by women unhappy with their expressive roles as mother and carer, women now want equality - to have the same rights and responsibilities that men are allowed, to be able to have a career to have the option to chose. Functionalisation may be out dated but a movement has started to take it place - this is the New Right movement. These ideas were formulated in the 80s and 90s, and are based on functionalist views; however the New Right takes into account some of the family diversity that families face today solely because it was written when various family types were starting to be socially acceptable - therefore their opinions had to reflect the changing society if they were to be taken seriously. Therefore the newer up dated version of functionalisation is more useful than the original ideas and theories. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of the family.

    4 star(s)

    a polygamous family, where there is polygyny, where a husband has more than one wife and polyandry, where a wife has more then one husband, or an extended family that consists of three generations living together as a family unit e.g.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Examine the usefulness of functionalism for an understanding society

    4 star(s)

    Functionalism gives us unbelievable explanations of how society changes. Another reason is functionalism completely ignores what values make the beginning of the value consensus so it ignores problems within social groups. Marxism is a conflict theory and the theory behind this is that groups in society exert themselves for scarce resources.

  1. Changes in Family Roles

    This shows that my mother's roles are different from those that my grandmother had. To further prove the change in roles within the family, I asked the third lady, who was younger, aged 20, what her roles are around the house and also her boyfriend's with whom she shared an apartment.

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

    By conducting a survey in this way will allow me to collect the data easily and quickly and cost effectively, which is an added bonus. Survey Results From the results of my results I am able to conclude that the Nuclear family is becoming a thing of the past as

  1. With reference to the family, consider how functionalist perspective enhances understanding of the diversity ...

    Women are beginning to feel that they don't get the recognition they ought to have when they stay at home being a housewife, and a system of meritocracy now means that they can fulfill their potential and live their dreams (Haralambos, 1990).

  2. Main features of Functionalism.

    There is a pre-supposition here of three other systems: (a) A personality system, i.e. actors aiming for maximum gratification; (b) A cultural system, i.e. a system of wider values which gives coherence to the different norms attached to different status roles; and (c)

  1. Marxism and Functionalism and their contribution to sport.

    Fearing a sever �1m penalty, the loss of sponsorship and broadcasting money, the monetary aspect has become too powerful to decline a match of such political importance; notabene: politics do influence sport nowadays too. A further example of commercialisation of sport and changing the nature of a sport could be the critical look at horse-racing.

  2. Assess the View that Family Diversity is leading to a Weakening of Traditional Family ...

    This can reflect choice or circumstances. This covers such factors as the number of children, divorce, remarriage, and widowhood. Eversley and Bonnerjea (1982) argue there are distinct regional variations in household type within Britain. They argue there are distinct patterns of household form in different parts of Britain.

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