Sociology -Family

Topics: Sociology, Gender, Gender role Pages: 9 (2952 words) Published: April 27, 2013
Chiu Ka Po Adele


Word count: 2500

Essay question: 5

Since the very beginning of civilization of human being, family has been a fundamental institution of our society. In the study of sociology, there are two dichotomy of defining family, which are the structural-functional approach and the conflict approach (including feminists), mainly focusing on the patriarchy. I would like to briefly explain the two approaches and provide with some concrete examples to illustrate them in a more specific fashion and at the end, compare which one would be more applicable and true in the context of Hong Kong society. Structural-functional approach

First of all, the structural-functional approach can also be defined as functionalism, which views the society through a macro-level orientation. It examines the social structure and social functions, believing the society evolves as an organism. (Schaefer, Richard T , 2012) When applying the theory to the family, it basically performs a few paramount functions, which outlined by sociologist William F. Ogburn. I would like to introduce them briefly in the following paragraphs. Function of Reproduction

Firstly, reproduction is one of the essential functions of family . From the traditional society until nowadays, family is viewed as a legitimate institution to give birth to next generations. However, many couples nowadays in Hong Kong , do not view reproduction is a necessary duty of marriage. According to the figures shown by the Census and Statistics Department of HKSAR, in the past 20 years, the birth rate has been decreased by 54%. It clearly demonstrates that function of reproduction might no longer a necessary function of family anymore.

Role of protection and companionship
Secondly, family plays a role of affection and companionship for them. However, it is frequently observed that it is a phenomenon that children seldom talk with their parents, not even mention deep chat or communicate with their parents. According to the research done by the Public Opinion Programme of Hong Kong University in 2010, among the interviewee, when asked who is their most ideal chatting person , parents only plays 14% , which mother plays 11% while father plays 3%. It significantly proves that family is no longer an intimate basis or an anchor for their members, when people encounter problems or wish to find someone to talk with , they might seldom find their parents. It is a generally accepted view that there is diminishing time or communication between parents and their children, not mention they have a close relationship with each other. Worse still, family might even be the source of desperation or frustration to people, instead of a reliance or place for comfort or companionship between parents and children , as it can been seen by the statistic shown by Census and Statistic Department and domestic court , the divorce rate in HK has been increasing rapidly in recent years and divorce rate of HK is the third high among Asia’s regions . As stated by much psychological report, divorcement can create a number of psychological problems to both the divorcee and the children. Sometimes, the traumatic effect done to them are incalculable and cast a long-term effect on them, which illustrate that family might not be as beneficial and act as a protection to their children, but might constitute conflicts and problems in the society. (Zill. N, Morrison, D. R., Corio, M.J , 1993) Function of Socialization

Thirdly, family also provides children with socialization. Parents and other relatives play an important role in transmitting the norms , values and language , religion or their culture to their children. For example, many Catholic or Christian couples arrange baptism for their children when they are still infants or babies and their children would naturally follow their parents’ religion and practise their religion when they are brought up , which can be viewed as an...
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