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Assess The Usefulness Of The Functionalist View Of The Family (24 Marks)

670 words - 3 pages

Assess the usefulness of the functionalist view of the family. (24 marks)
Functionalists believe that society is based on a value consensus – a set of shared norms and values – into which society socialises its members. This enables them to cooperate harmoniously to meet society’s needs and achieve shared goals. They view the family unit as a construct that fulfils important functions and keeps society running smoothly.

Functionalists believe the family plays a vital role in keeping society running smoothly and maintaining social stability. In order to do so, the family must perform four essential functions for society and its members. Murdock (1949) argues that it is the nuclear family ...view middle of the document...

This means that women nowadays can be the breadwinner, and men do have more expressive roles with caring for children and taking on some housework responsibilities; families are now more symmetrical.

Marxists take a different view of the family. They have a conflict view of society, and believe that the rich (bourgeoisie) exploit the poor (proletariat). They see the family and all other aspects of society (e.g. education) as oppressive institutions. They believe it performs functions for capitalism; passing on wealth, ideological functions and unit of consumption. Although Marxists take a very different view to functionalists, they both have structural views that see the family as shaped by the wider society. This theory of the family could be considered more useful than the functionalist theory as it considers conflict between social classes, and how it is hard for working class families to function when they are forced to work for the capitalist class to earn wages, with very little social mobility

Like Marxists;...

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