Topics: Sociology, Family, Nuclear family Pages: 2 (772 words) Published: October 19, 2014
Using material from Item 2B and elsewhere, assess the contribution of functionalist sociologists to our understanding of the family. The functionalist theory is about the idea of different parts of the body, the body needs certain parts In order to function which relates to society needing certain parts in order to be a society. In general, functionalism is a theory based on consensus which is where people agree on the same norms and values. This is different to Marxism which is a conflict between class and Feminism which is a conflict between genders. One functionalist that has an understanding of the family is Murdock (1949); Murdock argued that the family provides four essential functions for society. One of these functions is a stable satisfaction of the sex drive, this is important to our society as it satisfies peoples urges in a civilised way which prevents having a ‘free for all’. Another function is the reproduction of the next generation, this is important to our society because without this, society wouldn’t continue as there would not be any new generations to carry it on. A further function is the socialisation of the young, this is important to our society because it enables young people to share norms and values in society. The last function is meeting its members economic needs, this is important to society as it provides food, shelter etc. in order for people in society to survive. Another functionalist who has an understanding of the family is Parsons (1955); Parsons ideas kept the functionalist views up to date by his functional fit theory. Parsons distinguished between two types of family which were the nuclear family and the extended family. The nuclear family consisted of just parents and dependent children living in the same household whereas the extended family consisted of three generations living in the same household. In a traditional and pre-industrial society, extended families were more common because more families lived together in...
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