Functionalism in Family

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The affects of Functionalism, Conflict and Interactionist Theory on Family SOC101
Emily Frydrych
May 24, 2010

A social institution is “an organized pattern of beliefs and behaviors centered on basic social needs” (Schaefer, 2009). I believe that family is one of the most important social institutions. Family is a social institution that is always changing. My family has changed greatly over the past years. As a child I went from foster home to foster home. My birth mother was only 14 years old when she had me, and gave me up for adoption immediately. It wasn’t until I was eight years old that I was finally adopted.

My adopted family, who I consider to be my real family, taught me a lot. They help shape and mold me into the person that I am today. According to our class textbook, “the family, in its many varying forms, is present in all human cultures” (Schaefer, pg.306). The family is impacted by all three sociological theories. In my paper I will discuss the impact that all three of the theories. Functionalism, Conflict and Interactionism, have on the social institution of family. I believe that the social institution of family is what makes us who we are. It helps to form our personality and our lives when we become adults.

My family taught me how to make moral decisions in my life, how to become an independent individual in society and how to manage a family of my own. I pretty much do not follow one exact theory. I agree with many of the different aspects of all three theories. The first theory I will discuss will be the Functionalist theory. As outlined by William F. Ogburn, the family is meant to perform six paramount functions as follows: * Reproduction

* Protection
* Socialization
* Regulation of sexual behavior
* Affection and Companionship
* Provision of Social Status
I agree with Ogburn on many of these functions. I think that the family teaches you companionship and how to form an affectionate relationship with someone. I also agree tone of the main functions of a family is Reproduction. God says in the Bible that we are to be fruitful. It is our duty to reproduce to make more beings on earth.

My family also serves as a security blanket for me. I know when all else fails my family will always be there for me and take me back with no questions asked. The functionalist theory affects the views of an individual in a family in many ways. To me it makes them a more stable person, with more traditional views. Functionalism does not leave too much room for social change within a family. Usually units of a family have a set of beliefs that they were raised on and consider the norm for them. TO stray from this would be abnormal and not right.

Functionalism was a strong belief years ago when things were more traditional. This was just the way of life. This theory to me would be one of the main reasons why many people are against things such as gay marriage, unmarried couples having babies and shacking up and unwed mothers. On the other side of the spectrum we have the Conflict theorists. “Conflict theorists view the family not as a contributor to social stability, but as a reflection of the inequality in wealth and power that is found within the larger society” (Schaefer, pg. 292). Although I do agree with many of the aspects of the Functionalist theory, I agree with some of the points that the Conflict theory makes as well. I know for a fact when I was a child, my brother got away with murder. There were things that I couldn’t do that my brother could do because he was a boy. I had a friend who parents wouldn’t allow her to go anywhere, she had to go to High School down the block from her home, she couldn’t go to the mall until she was 18, and she was forced to go to college near home. Going away to college was a no- no for her as far as her parents were concerned. However, her younger brother went to a High School way across town from...
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