The functionalist perspective of family is that families serve an important function in society. Families provide a structure for individuals to socialize and learn the norms and values of society. Families also provide economic stability and support for members of society. Additionally, families care for children and the elderly. Without families, societies would not function properly.
The family is a social institution dedicated to the care, nurturing, protection, and socialization of children. Functionalism focuses on the functions of the family, which include child socialization, giving love and friendship, sexual control and occupation of economic roles.
The family is seen as an important part of society because it helps to socialize children and provide them with the support they need. The family also provides love and companionship, which can be beneficial for both the individual and society.
Additionally, the family regulates sexual behaviour, which can help to prevent problems such as teenage pregnancy. Finally, families occupy various economic roles, such as providing income and housing. These roles are important because they help to maintain the stability of society.
Functionalists also examine how a family interacts with society as a whole and how it contributes to its maintenance. According to the functionalist viewpoint, economic activities of a family include production and consumption, as well as inheritance of wealth and other material assets from one generation to the next.
The family is also responsible for the socialisation of children, which includes teaching them the norms and values of society.
The family is a vital institution in all societies because it is the primary unit of socialisation. It is where we learn the basic values and behaviours that enable us to live in society. From a functionalist perspective, the family performs many essential functions for both individuals and society as a whole.
The first function is sexual and it has a marital relationship as its purpose, which lowers the risk of social upheaval due to non-marital sex; this also promotes the bond between spouses. The second role is procreation, for through procreation, a nation is kept going and grows stronger; without it, a society would not exist.
The third is cheap, which entails the provision of food and shelter for children and their spouses. The fourth role is education, which promotes socialization among the young while also educating them about society’s customs and values (Murdock, 1947).
The functionalist perspective of family has been criticised for being outdated and for not reflecting the reality of modern families. Family functions have changed over time and are no longer as clearly defined as they once were. For example, the education function is now largely carried out by schools rather than by families. In addition, the family no longer plays such a pivotal role in economic provision, with many women now working outside the home. The reality of today’s families is therefore very different from the functionalist ideal.
The downside of Murdock’s viewpoint is that it emphasizes the importance of families, which it thoroughly investigates in society. Parsons believes that the duties a family must perform will have an effect on its form or structure. Parsons studied two distinct types of families: the nuclear family and the extended family.
The nuclear family is defined by a set of relationships between parents and children, while the extended family is composed of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins in addition to parents and children. Parsons claims that the nuclear family is the best type of family because it provides the most support for its members. The husband-wife relationship is especially important in the nuclear family since it offers emotional stability and economic security.
Modern society is made up of a variety of family structures, therefore it is irrelevant to modern life. Murdock’s functionalist perspective disregards family diversity and does not consider alternative arrangements such as the Kibbutz, a collective community in Israel based on agriculture that fulfills all four function requirements.
The Family is also not the only institution that can perform these functions. The Church, for example, can provide Socialisation for its members. Also, the Family is not as powerful as it once was. The state now provides many of the functions that the Family once did such as Education and Health care.
The functionalist perspective on the family has been critiqued by feminists who argue that it is a patriarchal institution which benefits men more than women. They argue that Murdock’s view of the family is outdated and does not reflect the reality of modern families.
Feminists also argue that the Family relies on women’s unpaid labour in order to function properly. Engels’ Marxist perspective of the family also criticises Murdock’s view as he argues that the Family is a product of capitalism which benefits the ruling class (the bourgeoisie) at the expense of the working class (the proletariat).
While there are some criticisms of Murdock’s functionalist perspective on the family, it remains a useful way of understanding the role of the family in society. It helps to explain why the family is such an important institution and how it contributes to the stability and functioning of society.
The conflict perspective, on the other hand, only recognizes the social inequities that it finds and offers no means to bridge the gap between rich families getting richer and poor families getting poorer. The conflict approach does delve into detail when it comes to discussing various sorts of households and the reasons for their prosperity or failure, but it usually paints a one-dimensional picture of dominant groups and non-dominant groups.
The functionalist perspective of family however, looks at families not as groups in conflict with each other, but as groups that work together to maintain stability and balance in society. The functionalist perspective sees families as units that perform certain functions in order to keep society running smoothly. According to the functionalist perspective, the family is a microcosm of society, and just as society is held together by cooperation and shared values, so too is the family.
One of the key functions of the family is socialization, or the process by which children learn the norms and values of their society. Families are responsible for teaching children how to behave in a way that is acceptable to society at large. Another important function of the family is the economic one.
In most families, one or both parents work outside the home to earn money, while the other parent(s) takes care of the home and children. The family is also responsible for providing emotional support for its members. In times of trouble, family members can rely on each other for comfort and reassurance.
The functionalist perspective sees the family as a positive force in society, working to maintain stability and promote cooperation. However, this perspective has been criticized for being overly optimistic and for failing to take into account the inequalities that exist within families. While the functionalist perspective is a useful way to understand how families contribute to the stability of society, it does not always reflect the reality of life within families.