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Assess the View That the Nuclear Family Is No Longer the Norm

  • Date Submitted: 02/21/2012 02:15 AM
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Assess the view that the Nuclear family is no longer the norm.
The definition of a nuclear family is a family that consists of a mother, father and their children, who all live together and share economic co-operation and have an intimate relationship that involves reproduction. It can be argued that the nuclear family is no longer the norm but some sociologists, like Murdock and Talcott Parsons, would argue that the nuclear family is the norm.
Functionalists such as Murdock and Parsons would say that the nuclear family is the norm. Murdock says that the family has four functions. The first function being sex which is where married adults enjoy a healthy sex life which prevents them having affairs and ensures children are raised by their natural parents. The second function is reproductive which involves making the next generation i.e. a new workforce. The third function is economic, by this Murdoch means providing food and shelter. Ideally the man will go out to work, breadwinner, and the woman will look after the house and children, homemaker. The fourth function is educational, by this Murdock means socialisation which is the process of learning the norms and values of society. This shows the functionalists prefer the nuclear family, they feel this provides children with a male and female role model and it also provides socialisation from two parents. Functionalists believe that the nuclear family is the one best suited to the wider needs of society. Murdock’s view can be criticized for being too narrow; it doesn’t take in to account single parent or gay families. This view is also criticised by feminists due to the idea of different gender roles and the creation of female oppression. Feminists point out that the family tends to benefit men more than women.   Functionalists also prefer marriage to co-habitation as it is seen to be more stable however, at the moment there is a decrease in the amount of people getting married and a rise in co-habiting families...

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