Mrs T. Nqodi

Good Essays
Topics: Sociology
This essay will be discussing the core argument advanced by Murdock and Parsons as key theorist writing from a functionalist view of the family. Considering the strengths and limitations of the functionalist approach to the study of families.

The family is often regarded as the cornerstone of society. It is seen as the basic unit of social organisation and on which carries out important task, like socializing children. Murdock defines the family as the social group characterized 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 cohabiting adults (1949).

The functionalist perspective of the family is analysed according to three main question, namely; what are the functions of the family, functional relationships between the family and other parts of the social system and finally the functions performed by an institution or a part of the society for the individual (Haralambos 2004).
Murdock (1949) argues that the family performs four basic functions in all societies, which he terms the sexual, productive economic and educational. These are important for social life because without them there would be no new members of society. Without economy there would be no life because people depend on finance to keep life going. Without education or socialization there would be no culture. People pass their culture through socialization.

The family with the help of other institutions make contribution to efficiency of performing these functions. When everything goes smooth then the family can be seen fulfilling its purpose in society and its universality emerges in strong relief. The family serves both the individual as well as society. Couples enter into a relationship with understanding of what they let themselves into. They set rules that govern their relationship regarding sex and



References: Haralombos, M & Holborn, M. 2004. Sociology: Themes and Perspectives (6th Ed), London: U. Hyman.

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