Assess the functionalist position on the role of family

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Assess the functionalist position on the role of family

 Functionalist sociologists believe that for society to run smoothly and to maintain a successful stable economical system, certain functional perquisites need to be met; these are there to ensure social order. So societal norms and values need to pass on to the next generation and for this to happen the family is of great importance to achieving this. That is why functionalists support the family as it is the basis of each society; they carry out the job to teach them the four functional perquisites needed for survival.

In 1949 Murdock found that in 250 societies that he had studied there was some form of the nuclear family that existed therefore he claimed that that the family provides four essential functions for its members and the rest of the society. These four were the; reproductive, sexual, educational, and economical functions.

Firstly they look at reproduction from the aspect of producing the next generation for society. This ensures survival of the community which can’t be done without children and these new members also benefit society in regard to taking up jobs which will be more effective to society.

The second one to look at would be the sexual function of a family; this does not just serve the society in a positive way but is beneficial for the individuals themselves. Unapproved sexual behaviour can cause many problems in society, so this means of a family lets married adults enjoy a healthy sex life. This martial sex makes bond between couples not only stronger but increases the chances of fidelity. Thus regulates rules in society preventing crime such as rape to occur.

Next is the educational point of view of the functions of which a family carries out. The next generations need to learn about their culture and to be taught about society’s norms, customs and values. This input is given by the family so the child is able to fit in society with appropriate behaviour and not turn out like social delinquents.

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Lastly the family also provides economic provision. Families need to provide shelter, food and clothing for each other. To fulfil this need they need to have financial stability therefore the adults go out to work to bring home living necessities. To provide protection and maintenance member, the division of labour has come about where the male is the bread winner and the female is the nurturer this not only decreases s chances of poverty, but as more and more wage-earners come about the economy of society will run better.  

Murdock’s claims have led to criticisms led by interpretivist sociologists. ...

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