Assess the View That the Nuclear Family Functions for the Benefit of the Individual and Society.

Topics: Sociology, Family, Marxism Pages: 2 (766 words) Published: October 22, 2012
Assess the view that the nuclear family functions for the benefit of the individual and society.

A nuclear family is universal and consists of two generations of families: a father, a mother and their children, all living in the same household. In this essay, I will be assessing the views that the nuclear family functions to benefit all its members and society as a whole, from a Functionalist, Feminist and a Marxist perspective. In order to assess these views, it is necessary to first establish the functions that the nuclear family performs and then to assess whether these benefit the individual and the wider society. Sociologists such as George Peter Murdoch (1949) claimed that the family was a 'universal institution'. This is a functionalist view, however Marxists feminists argues that it online met the needs of capitalists. Functionalists see society as playing a major role in achieving social goals such as proving positive norms and values for the individual and society to reproduce consensus. They believe that institutions such as the family must have a function which benefits society and its members. They believe that without consensus society will collapse into chaos. Consensus and shared values enables the members of society to cooperate with each other providing unity. Functionalist sees society as an institution from which norms and values are shares providing harmony. Functionalists regard society as a system that depend on each other such as the institution of the family, the education system and the economy. They look at what the nuclear family does for the whole of society, not just for certain individuals. Functionalists consider the nuclear family as essential for society’s smooth running. George Peter Murdoch (1949) claimed that the family was a universal institution. He studied 250 different societies and cultures and found that the family existed in one form or another. This suggests that families are necessary in some way whether it be...
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