The Social Institution of Family

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Topics: Sociology, Family
The Social Institution of Family
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology

Merriam-Webster defines family as “the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children.” (Merriam-Webster n.d.) However, these traditional views of defining family have begun to change as society commonly respects the uniqueness of the modern family unit, and their makeup. This paper serves to explain the Sociological perspective as it applies to the numerous family settings.
According to our text, “Conflict theorists have argued that the family contributes to social injustice, denies woman opportunities that are extended to men, and limits freedom in sexual expression and mate selection. In contrast, the functionalist perspective focuses on the ways in which the family gratifies the needs of its members and contributes to social stability. The interactionist view considers the intimate, face-to-face relationships that occur in the family.” (Schaefer R. 2009) Our text uses three sociological theories; functionalism, conflict and interactionism. These theories can be seen within the family institution in our country as well as other cultures around the world.
The functionalist theory believes that the family gratifies the needs of each member and helps to form social stability. This can be attributed to the old saying that blood is thicker than water. The senior family members tend to teach junior members of the family their morals, attitudes and their unique traditions as passed down from generation to the next. Customs are often combined as each parent contributes to the overall upbringing of their off spring. “Friedrich Engels, A colleague of Carl Marx described the family as the ultimate source of social inequality because of its role in the transfer of power, property, and privilege.” (Schaefer R. 2009) However, this is more of a socialist view of family. Most Christian families’ feel that a strong family is one that unifies our society and what



References: Articlebase (November 2006) The Etymology of Family Through Sociological Perspective Retrieved from the Internet on March 30, 2011 from website: http://www.articlesbase.com/relationships-articles/the-etymology-of-family-through-sociological-perspective-76439.html e-Learn Portal., (n.d), Social Issues in Diversity. Retrieved from the Internet on March 30, 2011 from website: http://www.elearnportal.com/courses/social-work/social-issues-in-diversity-interactionist-theory Merrian-Webster., (n.d.) Retrieved from the Internet on April 2, 2011 from website: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/family?show=0&t=1301973796 Schaefer, R.T. (2009) Sociology: A brief introduction (8th Ed.) New York, NY: McGraw Hill Edwards J., Neutzling K., Porth E., University of Alabama (n.d.) Anthropological Theories Retrieved from the Internet on April 3, 2011 from website: http://www.as.ua.edu/ant/cultures/cultures.php?culture=Functionalism

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