Essay Example on There are several theories on the functions of the Family

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There are several theories on the functions of the family including Functionalist Marxist and Feminist The Functionalist theory focuses on the importance of family in the stability of society They state that society is like a human body also called the organic analogy in which it is made up of several parts that all work together for the normal functioning of the whole body If one part fails to function adequately it would lead to a breakdown in society Slideshare 2013 George Peter Murdock believed that the family is made up of 4 basic requirements Sexual as it provides sexual gratification for both people which helps to strengthen the family Economic which is the specialisation of labour in which each member of the family specialises in a certain task which provides a rewarding experience for everyone working together Reproductive as the family produces the next generation of society and Educational as the norms and values of society are taught to children Fabes 2003 In his work entitled Social Structure 1949 he examined a total of 250 societies all varied from hunter gatherer to pastoral agrarian or industrialised and found that in each of these societies exists forms that fit the definition of family as a social institution Despite its variety of forms the family is universal and he believes that family should include 2 adults of opposite sex and one or more children or a nuclear family Murdock 2010 Another theory came from Talcott Parsons and his functional fit theory 



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Within this he states that the family only has 2 functions Primary Socialisation which imbues the societies values into a child in their early years and Stabilisation of Adults Personalities which emphasizes the security found in relationships and acts to balance out the stress of everyday life and allows adults to express their childish side by playing with their children For Parsons a woman s role within the family is an expressive one which means the woman provides things like love and affection that other family members might need Men have an instrumental role as the main provider which can be very stressful so a woman's job is to relieve this stress Sociologytwynham 2008 The Marxist view of the family is that it performs ideological functions for capitalism as the family teaches that there is a hierarchy and that must me accepted It also acts as a means for the wealthy to pass down their private belongings to their children enforcing class inequality Revisesociology 2014 Friedrich Engels wrote a book titled The Origin of the Family Private Property and the State 1884 where he studied early human history and the change between primitive nature and the emergence of a society based on private property He stated that within hunter gatherer groups there was a clear division of labour between men and women Men would predominantly go out hunting whilst the women would collect roots and plants but it was nothing to do with a division based upon superiority but a way to protect the fertility of the group With the beginning of civilizations came private land and the creation of surplus Farmers were required to create surplus resources which ended up in the hands of the privileged thus creating a division of class Engels 1942 



The main criticisms of the Marxist view are that they focus very little on what family is and what its function is but focus on capitalism They assume that the future is predetermined and people passively accept socialisation and family life They also assume that men only marry for the purpose of reproduction and not for love prezi 2014 Almost all Feminists agree that gender roles are learnt rather than determined and the place where this happens is within the family They argue that the traditional nuclear family oppresses women by socialising women into accepting their roles as housewife and by teaching girls to accept lesser roles while boys are taught that they are superior Feminism is split into 3 main branches Liberal Marxist and Radical and each has very different views Earlhamsociologypages 2017 Liberal feminists say that inequality in relationships is caused by 2 things Long and inflexible working hours and men refusing to pull their weight in relationships Jennifer Sommerville 2000 is a key thinker amongst the liberal feminists and she believes that most feminists have failed to acknowledge the great strides women have made towards equality with greater freedom over paid work and the choice to marry or cohabit whether they want children or not and whether to live on their own or not Sommerville argues that women can do away with male partners as most are inadequate and seek their sense of fulfilment within their children

 Marxist feminists argue that it is capitalism and not men that is the main cause of oppression for women Fran Ainsley 1972 argues that women face the anger that is felt towards capitalism and that males frustrated by work take their aggression out on their female partners Margaret Benston 1969 stated that the amount of unpaid work a women does such as housework and childcare are very profitable to others Women tend to their husbands needs by feeding him cleaning his clothes doing housework so he doesn't have to keeping him in good working order allowing him to do his job that he is paid for Radical feminists argue that all men are the cause of women's exploitation and in contrast to Liberal feminists say that paid work has not been liberating but instead they have the burden of paid work as well as unpaid housework and men benefit more from a woman s earnings and their housework As Fran Ainsley said previously women face the dark side of family life domestic abuse Nearly 1 in 4 women will experience this at some point and women are much more likely to experience this violence than men Philosopherkings 2018


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