Marxist And Functionalist Perspective On Family Analysis

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Register to read the introduction… Functionalists believe the family contributes to society’s basic needs and helps maintain social order. Functionalists have been criticised for placing too much emphasis on the nuclear family. George Murdock and Talcott Parsonss were two of the most influential figures to contribute to the functionalist perspectives of the family. They both agreed the family is the …show more content…
Murdock believed families were joined by a common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. Talcott Parsons on the other hand concentrated on modern American society. He believed society was dependant of two basic irreducible functions: Primary socialisation and the stabilisation of adult personalities. Primary socialisation refers to socialisation during the early years of childhood, which would occur mainly within a family unit. Secondary socialisation would happen during later years when the family is less involved and the influence of peer groups and school starts to play a major role. For primary socialisation to be effective culture has to be engaged and accepted for norms and values to exist. Also a child has to be shaped with regard to the central values of that culture where they become part of him/her. Parsons quoted families ‘are “factories” producing human personalities’. Another function of the family that Parsons defined is ‘stabilising adult personalities’. This refers to the role the family plays in support the adult members emotionally. In an industrial society the nuclear family is …show more content…
Friedrich Engels believed the means of production were privately owned by the Capitalist society. Engels believe the family came in to existence with the invention of private property. Before this period there were no rules limiting the number of sexual relationships and society acted as a family. With private property being brought in, the monogamous marriage and family solved the problem of inheritance. The paternity of the offspring had to be proven and therefore this generated greater control of women. Marxists believe the family is an exploitative institution. The family was seen as a means of control and reproduction of the capitalist society. Eli Zaretsky believed the family was a major prop to the capitalist economy. He claimed the capitalist society relies on the domestic labour of housewives to be maintained. He believed with the women at home caring for children and reproducing this ensured the future generations for capitalism. He also suggested that the family were like consumers. The family consumes the products of capitalism and allows the bourgeoisie

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