Examine the functionalist view of the family Essay

Broadly talking. the functionalist position has focused on the maps of the household in society and for its members. In other words. it looks at how the household. as an establishment. helps in keeping order and stableness in society. and the significance of the household for its single members. There are two chief functionalist positions on the household – Murdock’s position and Parsons’ position. Murdock’s position on the household is that the household performs four basic maps for its single members and society at big. These are the ‘sexual’ . ‘reproductive’ . ‘economic’ and ‘educational’ maps.

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The ‘sexual’ map refers to the ordinance of sexual activity. Evidence for this being a functionalist position on the household is that the thought of the four basic maps was created by George Murdock. Husbands and married womans have sexual entree to each other. and in all societies. there are norms refering sexual activity outside matrimony. Therefore. Murdock has argued that the household caters to the sexual demands of its grownup members and besides limits sexual entree of other members of the society thereby keeping stableness. The ‘reproductive’ map relates to bearing and raising kids. Again. this was portion of the thought created by Murdock.

The household provides the society with new members and assumes duty for raising them. The household is besides an ‘economic’ unit. with a division of labor along gender lines. Evidence for this is Murdock’s consideration of this division of labor and his seeing it as honoring for the partners and as beef uping the bond between them. as they are perceived as making distinguishable but complementary work. The ‘educational’ map can besides be termed ‘socialisation’ . Although ab initio an thought thought up by Murdock. Parsons besides agreed with this position believing that this was one of the chief maps of the household.

The household has the duty of conveying a society’s manner of life. norms and values to the younger members. This map is an of import one as. without civilization. the society could non last. and excessively much divergence from the norm would interrupt the stableness of the society. Another position on the household is the position of Talcott Parsons. He has besides written about the maps of the household. He has identified two maps that he perceives as being ‘basic and irreducible’ . These maps are: the primary socialization of kids and the stabilization of grownup personalities of the population of the society.

Primary socialization occurs in early childhood and the household plays an of import function at this phase. Evidence for this would be Parsons’ position and Hagiographas on the household. Subsequently on. other establishments like the school or the equal group. will exert much influence on the single – this is called secondary socialization. During primary socialization. two of import undertakings are achieved by the household.

First. the household must convey the civilization of the society to the kids. The kid must non merely be able to larn about the norms and values of the society he or she lives in. but should besides be able to ‘internalise’ these norms and values. doing them a portion of himself or herself. Another functionalist position on the household is that it has the map of ‘stabilising the personality’ of its grownup members. Evidence of this is Parsons’ position on the household. This means that household life provides grownups with the emotional security that they need. The function of parents that they are asked to presume besides provides them with chances for showing their childish caprices through their kids.


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