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Assess the Contribution of Functionalism to Our Understanding of Families and House Holds

  • Date Submitted: 11/19/2011 06:46 AM
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Assess the Contribution of Functionalism to our understanding of Families and House holds
Functionalists see society as a system made up of different parts that all depend on each other, so the family meets all of societies essential needs; such as the need to socialise children. Functionalists see the family as a basic building block for society.
Functionalism believes that the nuclear family supports society because it is geographically mobile. Functionalism believes that the nuclear family ‘fits’ and supports society because it is geographically mobile and allows people to move around the country to find work with little disruption. This suits our current economy and also suited it in the past such as during the Industrial Revolution.
Murdock felt there should be stable satisfaction of sex drive. Meaning it should be with one partner, preventing social disruption and confusion caused by having sex with different people. Furthermore, Murdock believed society would not continue without reproduction of the next generation. Finally Murdock thought meeting its member’s economic needs was crucial, such as food and shelter.
Murdock strongly felt that nuclear structures could perform these functions, although other sociologists agreed that most of these are important functions, they argued that they could be performed by other institutions, none nuclear families.
Parsons believed in the ‘functional fit theory’. Parsons felt that apart from the functions identifies by Murdock, the family has to meet other needs too. Parsons view was the functions it performed were depended on the kind of society in which it was found. Furthermore, Parsons felt the functions that the family has to perform affected its shape or structure. Parsons distinguished between 2 kinds of family structure; the nuclear family and the extended family.
According to parsons, there are two basic types of society; modern industrial society and pre industrial society. He felt the nuclear family...

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