Functionalist View Of The Nuclear Family

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The Functionalists have a structural macro approach to society. They believe that the family benefits society and help society to run well and that it is the corner stone of a positive society. This is evident in Item B, which makes the point that all institutions are positive in society. Parsons and Murdock are two sociologists that contributed to the functionalist view of society. However, there are other groups such as the Marxists and Feminists who believe that the family can be detrimental to society, disagreeing with the functionalists’ positive view.

Murdock believed that the Nuclear Family is universal. He argues that it is the most effective place for family members as it benefits society with the four fundamental roles of the family;
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Parsons disagrees with the fact that the Nuclear Family is universal and instead believed in the functional fit theory; this is where the dominant family type changes to meet the needs of society. He argued that before the industrial revolution, the extended family was the dominant type where as after this the nuclear family emerged as the dominant family. Parsons believed this was for two reasons, geographical mobility and social mobility. Geographical Mobility is where a nuclear family is more compact and is therefore able to move easier. Social Mobility is where the nuclear family is more equipped to deal with children reaching a higher social status of the parents because of the fact that the children move out and make their own family. Furthermore, Parsons disagrees with Murdock with the fact that there are four functions to the family, instead he argues that there are two, primary socialisation of children and stabilisation of adult personalities; this is where the family is a place where adults can relax and release tensions, enabling them to return to the workplace refreshed and ready to meet its demands. Parsons’ view is not as naïve as Murdock’s and it may be stronger because Parsons explains the existence of other family types as they exist based on the needs of society. However, his contribution is weakened by the fact that Laslett suggests that extended family didn’t exist …show more content…
Marxists, like functionalists, focus mainly on the nuclear family. However Marxists disagree with the fact that the family members benefit, instead it’s the bourgeoisie who benefit. While functionalists argue the primary socialisation of the young benefits society, Marxists believe that primary socialisation is so parents can teach young people that hierarchy is inevitable and fair, accustoming them to the idea that people will always have someone above them therefore enabling the bourgeoisie to exploit the proletariat. Consequently this makes children become docile workers. This is one of the Marxists ideological functions of the family. Furthermore, Zaretsky disagrees with Parsons’ stabilisation of adult personalities because he believes that the fact that the family provides a safe haven is an illusion because women are absorbers of frustration and anger when the bourgeoisie has exploited the men, and the women don’t get to vent. Overall, Marxists agree that primary socialisation is a key function, however it benefits different people. Consequently, Marxists don’t value the contribution of the functionalists as they ignore who really

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