Functionalist perspective of family Essay

Functionalists believe that society is based on a set of shared values and norms ; this is known as a value consensus. These norms and values socialise its members. which enables them to collaborate with each other so society’s demands are met. this creates societal order. It offers a structural and macro position of the household which is top down.

Functionalists see society as being similar to a biological being for illustration the human organic structure. This is called the organic analogy. The human organic structure is made up of assorted different parts that function together. each portion is necessary for the normal operation of the whole organic structure. Society is made up of assorted establishments ( for illustration instruction or household ) . Functionalists believe that these establishments rely on each other each other which helps keep societal order. If one establishment is rapidly modified or fails to work with other establishments. society would be dysfunctional and would stop up in lawlessness. Functionalists compare this with the human organic structure because if one constituent is unable to work. this frequently affects other constituents in the organic structure. which could ensue in decease. Functionalists believe that a household is a critical establishment. which contributes to keeping societal order because it meets the demands of other establishments such as the instruction system. which enables society to map in a incorporate mode. Functionalists believes that the atomic household tantrums society’s demands. nevertheless several alternate theories such as Feminism contradict Functionalist political orientation.

Murdock believes that the atomic household performs four indispensable maps for society and its members nevertheless he acknowledges that other establishments can execute these maps. He claims that he found grounds of a atomic household in 250 different societies so he argues that a atomic household is cosmopolitan as it fulfills societies demands. The first map is sexual. Murdock believes that sexual intercourse with the same matrimonial spouse can forestall societal break and can beef up the tie between hubby and married woman. The 2nd map is reproduction ; this allows new members of society to be born which is indispensable for society because if reproduction did non go on so society would discontinue to be. The 3rd map is economical so the household can supply for its members e. g nutrient and shelter. The concluding map is the instruction system. this enables the immature to be socialized and educated into society’s norms and values. and this suggests the household is a positive characteristic of society.

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However Murdock’s research is limited because he ignores diverseness. His research is based on a atomic household. yet in modern society there are many different household types. for illustration homosexual couples/lone parents. The postmodernist position believes that the atomic household is no longer the norm and hence the functionalist theory is non relevant to today’s society. Another unfavorable judgment would be that Functionalists do non see the cogency of other household constructions such as the Nayar or the Kibbutz who can besides execute the four maps. On the other manus. a strength of Murdock’s work is it provides an penetration of the families’ importance to society. because they examine how a household maps in society. Another positive to Murdock’s readings of household life would be that Murdock could generalise his research because he has studied 250 different societies. which demonstrates how a atomic household can suit social demands around the universe.

Another Functionalists account of the household comes from Parsons who believes that the maps a household has to execute. will impact its ‘shape’ or ‘structure’ . Parson’s identifies two types of household construction: the atomic household. which fits the demands of modern industrial society and the drawn-out household. which fits the demands of pre-industrial society. Parson’s argues that the drawn-out household was multi-functional so it was a unit of ingestion and production whilst the atomic household fits the cardinal demands of modern industrial society: geographically nomadic work force and the socially nomadic work force.

The geographical mobility industries frequently needed people to travel to where the occupations were. Parson’s argued that a atomic household ( two coevalss ) would happen it more straightforward to travel than an drawn-out household ( three coevalss ) so the atomic household is better fitted to the demands of modern industrial society. The societal nomadic work force implied that modern society is invariably altering with engineering and scientific discipline besides single position is frequently achieved ( utilizing their ain attempts ) instead than ascribed ( fixed from birth ) e. g. the boy may impute their ain position and travel off from place and make their ain atomic household in which they are structurally isolated from other members so Parson’s argues that the atomic household is better equipped that than the drawn-out household to run into societies demands.

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Parson’s argues that the atomic household ‘fits’ ( fit thesis ) modern society yet he besides notices that the altering maps of the household are socially advanced so the household have to carry through fewer maps for its members. Parson’s argues that the atomic household specializes in two maps: the primary socialisation of kids which educates the following coevals with basic accomplishments and society’s values. The stabilisation of grownup personalities is the 2nd map. this enables grownups to let go of tensenesss so they can return to their topographic point of work and execute their functions expeditiously.

Parson’s identifies segregated connubial functions between a hubby and married woman. The hubby has the instrumental function so he is expected to supply for his household whilst the married woman has the expressive function and is expected to foster her kids.

There are many negatives with Parson’s political orientation for case he idealizes the atomic household and ignores diverseness. as there is more than merely the atomic and drawn-out household in modern society. Another unfavorable judgment would be that Peter Laslett studied the pre-industrial society and concluded that in this society. the common household was atomic and non extended as Parson claimed. This was because many households decided to hold their kids when they were older and short life anticipation conveyed that grandparents were non alive when their first grandchild was born. . However there are some positives about Parson’s research. the first would be that Parson’s identifies how households change in society. another ground would be that Parson’s research shows how households can accommodate to run into societies needs so a more stable society is created and he argues that household life ‘fits’ and benefits society e. g. reproduction allows new members of society to be created so society’s norms and values are passed on to the following coevals. which helps make a stable society and societal order.

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More loosely. some women’s rightists such as Oakley argues that Murdock and other functionalists disregards struggle and development in a household ( e. g. domestic force ) . many women’s rightists besides believe that within the household. adult females are functioning the demands of work forces and they are oppressed. this suggest the household is non functional for adult females as argued by the functionalists.

Marxist’s have a similar struggle point of position as they believe that Murdock ignore the negatives in a household life. as Murdock has an highly positive position on household life. Marxists ( Engels and Zaretsky ) nevertheless argue that the household meets the demands of capitalist economy and non those of household members or society in general. which conflicts with Murdock’s political orientation. Furthermore The extremist head-shrinkers such as Laing argues that the household is dysfunctional as it amendss the person and can take to mental unwellness. they argue that the atomic household is non productive to its members. The New right nevertheless supports the functionalist’s position of the atomic household and suggests they help society to map. nevertheless they are an utmost position and have themselves been criticized.

To reason. Functionalists all agree that the atomic household is the best to suit societies needs. it offers a positive consensus position. nevertheless it ignores women’s places and disregard how the household feeds capitalist economy. they besides ignore household diverseness. To understand the household unit. one must look at all theoretical positions as functionalism on its ain is excessively limited a position.