Assess the view that in today’s society the family is losing its functions (24 Marks)
According to functionalists the family has lost its functions, functionalism claim there is integration and harmony between different parts of society which rely upon each other to maintain a cooperating society. Functionalists view the family as vital organs in maintaining society, functionalism concentrates on the contribution of the family towards society and how the family fits with other social institutions to create and efficient society. Functionalists like Murdock argues that the family has four main functions; reproduction as the family provides some stability for the reproduction and rearing of children, economic as the family provides for the family in terms of food and shelter, sexual and socialisation. Murdock regards these functions as necessary in any society; he suggests the nuclear family was found in every society however it is not the only form of arrangement that can carry these functions out. For functionalists the family “fulfils a number of important functions for individuals and society such as the socialisation of children and the stabilisation of adult personalities” Functionalists like Parsons and Dennis argue that in contemporary society many of the functions performed by the family and pre industrialised society has been removed from the family. Many argue that “these functions are being taken over by other institutions” and that these have been transferred to other institutions for example the NHS as well as the education and welfare system. Parsons refers to this as structural differentiation and he also claimed that is process has meant that modern more specialised families now only have two main basic needs; Primary socialisation of children and stabilisation of adult personalities. However many sociologists argue against claims made my Parsons and Dennis, some argue that the family has not lost its functions. Fletcher and Shorter 1966 deny...
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