Functions of the family

Topics: Sociology, Family, Gender role Pages: 3 (794 words) Published: February 2, 2014

d) Using information from Items A, B and C and elsewhere, assess the view that the nuclear family functions to benefit all its members and society as a whole – 24 marks

Functionalists see the nuclear family as playing a major role in achieving different social goals. Some of these goals include transmitting values and norms to the next generation and reproduce the shared values of the culture of society. They see the family as the most important social institution, meeting the needs of individuals as well as society as a whole. Marxists feminists and radical feminists however see the nuclear family functions to benefit male superiority and power, with Marxists feminists also believing the family to benefit capitalism.

One view that functionalists have of the family is that it is there to primary socialize children. Through the parents of the family, children are taught the values and norms that are shared by society, and in turn, allows them to have an input in society as whole. This benefits the individual as the child now has the ideals that are needed for them to develop and interact with the wider society. With this child having learnt the correct norms and values that are commonly shared by society, society now has an individual who conforms to the unwritten rules, benefiting how they present themselves in society and the input they have.

Marxists criticise the process of primary socialisation, and do not believe it benefits individuals, but rather reproduces and maintains class inequality. There is a hierarchical organisation of the family, traditionally with a male head of house, and as a result, workers do not question the hierarchical nature of capitalism. One of the values that is also taught to children is that happiness lies in material possessions, and as a result, capitalism often goes unchallenged by a generation who are fixated with the current trends and products.

Marxists feminists follow the same idea, that as well as...
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