Examining the Functions of the Family
- Explain what is meant by consensus?
Consensus is an agreement among a majority of members of society that something is good and worthwhile, it’s a set of shared norms and values, into which society socialises it’s members
- Identify the two essential functions that Parsons sees the nuclear family as performing?
Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households?
Functionalists believe that society is based on a value consensus; this is a set of shared norms and values into which society socialises its members. This enables society to work harmoniously and meet its needs and goals. Functionalists view society as being made up of a number of sub-systems that are dependent upon each other. These can include the education system, media, religion, and the economy. Just as the human body is dependent upon each of the functions in order to survive, society is dependent on each of the sub-systems. The family meets some of society’s essential needs by socialising children. This is regarded as a basic building block of society. Murdock argues that the family performs four essential functions to meet the needs of society and its members. These include; stable satisfaction of the sex drive, reproduction of the next generation, socialisation of the young and meeting its member’s economic needs.