as family and household

Topics: Sociology, Marxism, Family Pages: 4 (2643 words) Published: October 26, 2014
If the family exists (as Murdock says it does universally), then it must be performing some function(s) or fulfilling some purpose(s). A number of functionalist sociologists have presented accounts of the way in which this happens. GP Murdock Four essential functions of the family Murdock argues that the family is a universal institution (it exists everywhere) that performs four major functions Stable satisfaction of the sex drive with the same partner, preventing the social disruption caused by sexual free-for-all. Reproduction of the next generation, without which society would not be able to continue. Socialisation of the young into societys shared norms and values. Meeting its members economic needs, such as shelter and food. Talcott Parsons Parsons believes that every family in every society has two basic and irreducible functions the primary socialisation of children and the stabilisation of adult personalities. The initial or primary socialisation takes place in the early years of a childs life within the family group. During this period the child learns the basic elements of the culture into which she or he has been born. This early stage of socialisation is followed by a process of secondary socialisation, which takes place in more formal groupings outside the family (such as school). The second basic and irreducible function is the stabilisation of the adults personality. The family gives the individual adult a safetyvalve, a place where she or he can relax, escape the stresses and strains of the world outside and feel emotionally secure. Evaluation of functionalist theories The following criticisms have been made of functionalist views of the family Functionalists assume that on balance families perform useful and often essential functions both for their members and for society as a whole. Married couples are pictured as living in harmony, as good in bed, and as effective socialisers of the next generation. Critics argue that this does not...
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