To what extent does the dark side of the family life challenge the functionalist view on family?
Functionalists such as Murdock (1949) would define family as a social group made up of common residence, economic cooperation, reproduction, adults of both sexes, who engage in a socially approved relationship, and that the education system is important. Functionalists believe that the nuclear family is the best type of family for individuals and society. Functionalists believe that sexual relationships with the same partner are very important to society as it helps to prevent social disruption and can result in making a husband’s and wife’s relationship stronger. They believe that reproduction is important to keep society going. Economic cooperation is important for the family as it provides them with necessities such as food and shelter. Functionalists believe that the education system is important because it educates children into society’s norms and values, which they then pass down to different generations so when children grow up they support the functionalist views on society which they believe benefits society the most. This suggests functionalists have a positive view on families. However, the functionalists view on family encourages gender inequality and discriminates against homosexual and single parent families. This suggests that a functionalists view on family is not ideal and is not beneficial to everyone, and mainly benefit men and people with a high socio-economic class, therefore ignores family diversity.
Although functionalists think that family is a good thing, others believe that the family is bad, this is called ‘the dark side of the family life’. There are two main areas to the dark side of the family are child abuse and domestic violence. These are very difficult to measure as they are behind closed doors; this makes it very difficult to stop it from happening especially if people do not talk about it with others. There are four...
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