Functions Of The Family 4

Topics: Family, Nuclear family, Sociology Pages: 10 (2565 words) Published: January 7, 2015
Functions of the family
Key terms
Expressive role- Parsons term for the female function of a mother/housewife, looking after children, emotional work and caring Instrumental role- Parsons term for the male breadwinner, working and earning money for the family Industrialisation- when society moved from agricultural production to industrial manufacturing Nuclear family-a family that consists of a mother, father and their dependent children Extended family- a nuclear family with the addition of other relatives e.g. grandparents, aunt/uncle who live together Capitalism- An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit.

Functionalist views on the family- structural consensus view Main Points
• View society as having many parts, which must work together efficiently in order to maintain social harmony and coherence • See the nuclear family in positive terms, performing vital functions/roles for individuals and society as a whole. • Favour the nuclear family and oppose single parent and same sex families • The nuclear family is at the heart of society and essential for its smooth running

Key sociologists
Murdock’s definition of the family… “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 cohabitating adults”

“The family performs 4 essential functions to meet the needs of society” 1. Sexual- having a happy and stable sex life with the same partner, which prevents social disruption caused by having sex with anyone 2. Reproduction- having babies to produce the next generation, without this society cannot continue 3. Economic-the family functions as a productive and consumption unit (buying things) to ensure the survival of the family 4. Educational- Passing knowledge and skills from one generation to the next. Teaching children norms and values of society in order to fit in e.g. how to read write, eat, behave (primary socialisation) Parsons functional fit theory “the particular structure and functions of a given type of family will fit the needs of society” Women have an expressive role

Men have an instrumental role
Nuclear family lost many of its functions when society industrialised- they’ve become a unit of consumption where they buy everything not produce it- family members go to a work place for their employment and the family is hardly ever the employer The family has two main functions:-

a) Primary socialisation of children
b) Stabilisation of the adult personality (so you can have a stable adult family, parents teach you things for when your older e.g. manners) Warm Bath Theory
Parsons describes the family as a ‘warm bath’ as he believes the family helps to relieve stress and tension (e.g. job insecurity, money, deadlines) by washing away his troubles so that he is fresh and ready for the next day at work where he can contribute to society. This helps stabilize adult personalities and make the family members happy

The nuclear family is not universal
Family is not always pleasant as functionalist make it seem Ignores divorce, child abuse and domestic violence
Ignores family diversity

Functionalist (industrialisation) sociologists
Industrialisation led to smaller families as people moved away from their parents to see a ‘better life’ People had greater economic independence- had more money don’t have to pay for ill parents Nuclear families became closer- they had closer relationships as there were less people therefore they can spend more time with each other Parsons

Parsons distinguishes between two types of family structures:- a) The nuclear family
b) The extended family
According to parsons, there are two types of societies
a) Pre-industrial...
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