Why family formations have changed in Britain.

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Chyrise Cox                    

                                Sociology Assignment Two-Sociology of the Family.

Explain how and why have family formations changed in Britain?

Family formations have significantly changed since the late 1960’s. Many sociologists have their own theories on why families are important and the functions a family should maintain.

Functionalists believe that the main function of the family is to perform vital functions for society to survive. The family has essential functions which it must perform to meet the basic needs of society and its members. G.P Murdock (1949) states that the family performs four basic functions. Sexual-The family provides and controls sexual access to its family members. Reproductive-The family members reproduce at a child bearing age in order for society to have new members. Economic-the family should provide a warm and loving home with the basis needs in order to survive such as food and warmth. The family also teaches us social norms and values needed for economic co-operation. Education-The family sends their children to school which is needed to provide socialisation skills which are essential to pass on to the next generation. Functionalism stresses the positive role of the family. The family is seen as a universal institute that has a key relationship between other social institutes. Functionalists see the male and female roles as being set. The male is the sole breadwinner of the family and the wife stays at home and takes care of the house household duties and the children.

Functionalists have been criticised for concentrating on harmony to much and not recognising that conflict can occur within the family. Functionalism sees society as being status-quo (the way things are) and does not allow for change. The view of the family as ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ is said to be ideological.

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Marxist’s theory on the family emphasizes the conflict and equalities and, in particular the dominance of the economy over other institutions such as the family. The nature of the family is determined by the economic system. In modern society the family seems the main interest of capitalism. Marxist’s believe that the family provides a steady supply of workers to the economy free of charge. Marxist’s also believe that the key function of the family is to provide socialisation skills to their children and teach them the correct discipline and the correct attitudes of obedience to survive in society. The ...

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