Outline and Evaluate the Functionalist View of the Role of the Family in Society (33 Marks).

594 Words Dec 16th, 2014 3 Pages
Outline and evaluate the functionalist view of the role of the family in society (33 marks).
Murdock, a functionalist, describes the family as a universal institution based on the nuclear family model. The functionalist view of the role of the family in society is that it maintains social order. The family is a tool for socialisation and a key social institution in sustaining the value that society works by consensus.

Murdock identified four main functions of the family: sexual, reproductive, economic and educational. These four functions cover the role of the family in society. The sexual and reproductive functions are what keep society populated. If they became dysfunctional then society would not have the people inhabiting it.
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If they are not successfully socialised they will not fit the value consensus and will not be able to function in the society. Parson’s view of socialisation is focused only on the education of children, this could be criticised because he ignores the two-way interaction between parent and child. Parson also identified one other function of the family, this was to stabilise the personalities of its adult members, providing them emotional security.
March of progress theory is a theory identified by the functionalist Fletcher. It is the theory that the role of the extended family has become less important. Those extended families broke off into their own isolated nuclear families because they are more mobile and could move to the new opportunities offered from industrialisation. Also, that the need for the extended family has become less apparent because of state provisions such as education and healthcare.

Overall, the functionalist view of the family in society is that of maintaining the harmonious society of the day. A key factor in that is socialisation this is important in creating the value consensus that is needed to keep society functioning. The role of the family can also be seen to be populating society and being the guideline for sexual relationships of its adult members. Although they are a criticisms and weaknesses to the functionalist view of the family it can be seen

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