Examining the functions of the family
(a) Consensus is a general agreement for example the functionalists sociologists see society as based on value consensus; that is, harmony and agreement among its members about basic values.
(b) Two essential functions that Parsons sees the nuclear family performing is a geographically mobile workforce which is when people often spent their whole lives living in the same village and a socially mobile workforce which is constantly evolving science and technology.
(c) Three functions that the family might perform are promoting social mobility to meet the needs of industrial society, promoting geographical mobility as they are better fitted to ...view middle of the document...
In addition,the family say that society is just like a human body as the body carries out various functions such as the heart or lungs and therefore is for the benefit of our body, this replicates the idea that the family benefits the whole society as they meet important needs such as socialising children. Functionalist suggest that the family is a sub-system which is a fundamental building block of society. Murdock debates that the family performs four objectives that targets the requirements of society and its members; stable satisfaction of the sex drive with the same partner, reproduction of the next generation, socialisation of the young, meeting its members economic needs.
However many sociologists criticise Murdocks perspective as he agrees that other institutions could perform these roles. Yet, he also says that sheer practicality of the nuclear family is a way of meeting these four needs and explains why it is universal - found in all human societies. Some sociologists say that other institutions can perform equally or by non-nuclear family structures. Other perspectives such as Marxists and Feminists dismiss Murdocks ‘rose-tinted’ consensus view that the family provides for all people of the family. They contend that the functionalist perspective ignores conflict and exploitation; Feminists visualise the family as meeting the needs of the men and their demands as well as suppress women, Marxists suggest that the family meets the needs according to the capitalist perspective, serving the society altogether rather than family members.
Also, a sociologists named Parson argues that although the functions mentioned by Murdock meet the needs, Parsons debates that the family may meet the needs of the family differently such as performing welfare, military, political or religious functions. Talcott parsons (1955) says that the responsibility of the family relies upon the kind of society in which it is found. In addition, the responsibilities that the family may perform has an affect on the shape and structure of society. Parson separates between both kinds of family structures; the nuclear family which consist of just parents and two dependent children whereas the extended family consists of three generations living together in one household. Due to the distinguished family...