Family, The Functionalist Perspective, And Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

889 Words Apr 23rd, 2016 4 Pages
Family, it means something different to everyone. Sometimes our family is related by blood, other times they’re not. Sometimes we love our family, sometimes we can’t stand them. Everyone defines who and what family is differently, because of this it’s difficult to pinpoint a single definition for it. In order to prevent providing a narrow definition Henslin explains that “family consists of people who consider themselves related by blood, marriage, or adoption (Henslin, 2015, p. 368). Just like the many definitions of family, sociologist apply many different theories in order to understand family better. Some major theories that can be applied to further understand the meanings of family are the functionalist perspective, conflict perspective, and symbolic interactionist perspective. Functionalism was developed by Durkheim, this theory values the importance of survival and the basic needs required to reach survival. When applied to family, functionalists study how it effects the rest of society and what purposes or “functions” family serves to the rest of society (Henslin, 2015, p. 371). Families are not unique, they can be found all over the world. Functionalists believe the family is global because of the primitive needs it provides for the survival of a society; these needs include “(1) economic production, (2) socialization of children, (3) care of the sick and aged, (4) recreation, (5) sexual control, and (6) reproduction” (Henslin, 2015, p.371). Functionalist believe…

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