Examine the View That the Nuclear Family Is Universal

Topics: Family, Mother, Sociology Pages: 3 (894 words) Published: April 18, 2013
Examine the view that the nuclear family is universal /25

Sociologists are fascinated by how society is changing, they believe to some extent the family enables them to see how order has come about. Murdock suggested that the nuclear family is universal. He defined the nuclear family as ‘a social group characterised by common residence, economic, cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults.’ This is because it fulfils four basic functions that help society and its individual members these functions being sexual, reproductive, economic and educational functions within the family. Murdock’s view on the family being universal has been challenged by various sociologists as they argue Murdock’s definition of the nuclear family cannot be applied to families around the world due to it being restrictive. In 1949, Murdock took a sample of 250 societies in his study Social Structure. Murdock was writing in the 1940’s and therefore the view of the family being universal was most acceptable as it had fit to the norm of society at that time. Two people of opposite sexes who lived together to support their family and provide the emotional and financial needs was the nuclear family seen to be a universal socially accepted view. The sexual function within the family provides stability for the adults, husband and wife have the right of sexual access with each other, allowing the family to strengthen and provide sexual gratification for spouses. The reproductive function of the family is the family being able to produce the next generation of individual’s s for society. The economic function means the mother and father are able to provide the essential needs for the family which include of food and shelter. Lastly, the educational function within the nuclear family, this is when the family socialise the young...
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