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Embed code for: Functionalism revision table
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Consensus theory – rose-tinted view
Believe if institutions exist they must have a useful function or purpose.
Believe the most basic functional prerequisite is social order which the family contributes to largely.
Believe different institutions and the family must integrate in harmony for society to function effectively.
Functionalists analyse the family in terms of the positive functions it provides.
See the family as an important sub-system – a basic building block of society.
Prefer the nuclear family
Believed a nuclear family is more suited to fit the needs of a geographically mobile workforce due to it being easier to relocate 2 generations compared to 3.
Believed the nuclear family was better suited to also fit the needs of a socially mobile workforce. This is because once the eldest son leaves home and forms his own nuclear family it allows him to become the head of the household, meaning he can be promoted regardless of his father.
Believed in two essential functions; primary socialisation of children and stabilisation of adult personalities.
Primary socialisation of children – equip them with the basic skills and values to enable them to cooperate with others and integrate into society.
Stabilisation of adult personalities – families are a place where adults can relax and release tensions, so they can return to the work place refreshed and ready to meet its demands. This is functional for the efficiency of the economy.
He ignores the fact that roles can be negotiated and socialisation can be rejected by children
Marxists believe that the family is a servant of the capitalist state which looks after exploited employees with no cost to employers.
Tamara Hareven concluded from research of extended migrant families from America, that the extended family was better equipped to meet the needs of early industrial society, compared to the nuclear family.
Believed there were four essential functions of the family; stable satisfaction of the sex drive, reproduction of the next generation, socialisation of the young and meeting its member’s economic needs.
Stable satisfaction of the sex drive – satisfied in a stable and happy relationship
Reproduction of the next generation – keep the family going
Socialisation of the young – primary; learning the value consensus through parents
Meetings it member’s economic needs – economic security.
Believed the nuclear family is universal
Believed each parent has a specific role: Mum has an expressive role (emotional) and Dad has an instrumental role (work).
Marxists and feminists argue that functionalists ignore conflict and exploitation such as domestic violence.
Feminists see the family as serving the needs of men and oppressing women (patriarchy)
Marxists argue that it meets the needs of capitalism and not those of family members or society as a whole
Extended families would criticise Murdock as he ignores the roles of other family members, such as grandparents
Interconnected institutions can meet the needs of societies
Nuclear families can be seen in other cultures, therefore providing evidence for it being a universal institution and means it must be the best
People often aspire to have a nuclear family so it must be the best
The new right believes you need a mum and dad, for the child too be a worthy member of society and children are believed to perform much better if they come from a nuclear family.
The rose-tinted view is seen to be too deterministic and ignores the conflict within families
Ignores dysfunctions in the family such as domestic violence and abuse
Ignores diversity in modern society with different family types, such as single parent families and same-sex families.
Parsons view is seen as sexist due to him assigning roles to particular genders and shows his belief women have a restriction on their capabilities.