Another view on the family is Talcott Parsons functional fit theory. He believes that the different types of family fits different the type of society. He focuses largely on the nuclear family and the extended family. He stated that the nuclear family was best suited for industrial society because they can be a geographically mobile workforce and a socially mobile workforce because the family is smaller it can move to where the jobs are easier.
However other sociologists contradict Parsons theory. Sociologists Young and Willmott state that pre industrial families were nuclear with parents and children working together. They thought that a combination of children being born later and short life expectancies grandparents would not be living long enough after the child’s birth. Anderson uses the exchange theory to explain the popularity of the extended family in industrial society. He thought that new parents were becoming more dependent on their parents for financial and emotional support such as childcare so that parents could work and the grandparents can care for the children.
However, as stated in item A, Marxists and Feminists reject the consensus assumptions. Marxists who believe that the family benefits the capitalists instead of society as a whole. So they think that the family is a unit of consumption and that they by the goods that the capitalists make even though the workers are being exploited and not getting paid enough to the capitalist maintain the profit. They also believe that it has ideological functions and that the family socialises children to know that hierarchy and inequality is inevitable so children learn to accept it as part of life. The second function according to Zaretsky is that it is supposed to provide a ‘haven’ and the workers can come home and relax and go to work the next day refreshed. Similarly feminists take a critical role of the family saying that it benefits men not society as a whole.
In conclusion, Functionalist have outlined the positive effects of the family but has not given a clear picture and ignores the ‘dark side’ of the family such as domestic violence and child abuse. They also only focus on the nuclear family which in modern society is no longer the most common type.