Functionalists regard society as a system made up of different parts or sub-systems that depend on each other, such as the family, the education system and the economy. Functionalists often compare society to a biological organism like the human body. Functionalists see the family as a particularly important sub system, which is like a building block for society. Peter Murdock says that the family is very important and that it performs four key functions to meet the needs of society and its members; which are stable satisfaction of the sex drive, reproduction of the next generation, socialisation of the young, and meeting its member’s economic needs. However Peter Murdock argues that the pure practicality of the nuclear family as a way of meeting these four needs explains why it is found in all human societies. In Item A Peter Murdock says that being in a family prevents a ‘free for all’ happening so the family is very important to be in. Marxists and feminists argue that the functionalist’s perspective of the family ignores conflict and exploitation that occurs.
Marxists say that capitalist’s society is based on and unequal conflict that is within the two social classes, which are the capitalist class and the working class. Marxists see all society institutions which include the education system, the media and religion, as helping to maintain the class inequality and capitalism. You can see that from Item A that Marxists do not believe who benefits from the family. They have similar views to feminist but very different ideas to the functionalist.
Feminists say that the family oppresses women. They believe that women get treated unfairly and that they have unequal rights compared to men don’t get paid the same as men in the working industry, plus there is a lot of domestic violence against women as well. The feminists believe that inequality has come about because of society. This differs from functionalism because they think that family is extremely important to society and without it society wouldn’t work properly. From Item A we can see that the functionalists think that the ideal family type is the nuclear family as this type of family will let you socialise children and in the family is everything you need to be ok in society.
A family is a social group characterised by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted of the sexually cohabiting adults. Peter Murdock wrote that definition in 1949, but lots of people disagree with what he said. For example radical feminists would disagree with this because they believe that women should not be around men as they are a bad influence to them and that women should live with women; ‘men are the enemy’. If women were to live without men i don’t think this would work because women would never be able to have children unless they adopted them, and i think men are good company to have aswell. Also post modernists would disagree with the definition of the family by Murdock because they believe in family diversity. They believe that you can live in a family with who you like, so this doesn’t have to be the typical nuclear family; this could be in a lone family, or extended family for examples.
A household is a person living alone or in a group of people living together. This group of people may or may not be related to one another. Feminists may agree with this because they think that women should not be living with men they should live without them, so that they don’t get exploited. However New Right might say that this is wrong because the way that we should live in society would be to live in a nuclear family which is the most ideal way. This is the most ideal way because if we live in the