Outline and evaluate sociological views on the role of the family in society (33 marks)
There are three main different sociological view points on how sociologists view the family these are Functionalist, Marxist and Feminist Views.
The functionalists think the role of the family is extremely important and that the nuclear family is the best form, they think the nuclear family runs more smoothly as they learn the correct norms and values so our society can live in a consensus. Families also provide primary socialisation, and functionalists believe this should be done in the correct environment. As all families teach their children the same norms and values this can ensure individuals experience solidarity. Also the family helps organic analogy, as the family aids society in supporting other institutions. Functionalists believe that individuals or families that are no in a consensus are in a state if anomie and are given sanctions for this. The family produces the next set of responsible individuals, workers and parents so they need to ensure that these people fit into the existing society appropriately.
Functionalist theorists have different ideas and research as to how this works, for example George Murdock conducted a survey in 1949 of 250 societies and found that nuclear families perform four universal residential functions of the family, the first being Sexual, where people are sexually fulfilled by a monogamous relationship, one being Reproduction, where people reproduce in families and children are crucial, another being Economic, where family set up benefits the economy as they buy products and services to enhance the quality of life and the final function being socialisation where the family is an agent of primary socialisation passing on shared norms and values. Another functionalist was Talcott Parsons; he agreed with Murdock but focused his attention on the nuclear family in modern America. He argued that the nuclear family...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document