Examine the different functions performed by the family for individuals and society
There are many different functions performed by the family, and different sociologists have different theories as to how families are an essential factor in socialisation, and society. Functionalists like George Murdoch studied the importance of different functions in the family, he believed that family was universal and had 4 key functions. The first function is 'stable satisfaction of sex drive' with the same partner for the rest of an individuals life, Murdoch believed that being faithful to a partner was crucial for preventing the social disruption caused by sexual 'free-for-all'. Murdoch believed that if a person was to have mutiple sexual partners it would have a negative effect on the individual and society.
Another key function of the family Murdoch believed in was reproduction because without it, both individual life and society would become extinct. Murdoch also believed that socialisation and education on societies norms and values was crucial, this is an important fuction because much like Durkheims theory of family being linked with a functional society. Without socialisation, individuals could potentially grow up gaining mental illness's, and not having any boundaries or morals therefore could end up breaking the law. For example most children are taught from a young age that violence is wrong, however if the child was neglected and didn't experience socialisation growing up, then he/she could potentially become a violent individual rather than following the social 'norms'. This function is equally important to society because if this is not followed within families, society as a whole would be more dangerous and crime rates would be considerably higher. Furthermore, another one of Murdochs four key functions is the availablitiy of essentials such as food, water and shelter, this function is crucial for survival. It is the role of the family to provide each other with these necessities and it cannot be overlooked when assessing importance of the family becuse it is such a vital factor for the health and welfare of individuals.
Another sociologist that studied how a family functions is Parson's, who thought that there were two curcial functions of the family in society. The first was primary socialisation, he believed that the family should be the people that teach people how to act in society from an early age by following what is known as the 'norms' within the family. Primary socialisation at a young age would lead to functioning individuals in society later on in life, similar to Murdoch's theory that primary socialisation was crucial much like organs in the body. if primary socialisation was not carried out from a young age by the family other parts of society would fail as a result. Another Function he believed was important to a functional society was the stabilisation of adult personalities at home. This belief was that the family should act as a relief for the worker. It concluded that an important part of the family was to give each other emotional support. e.g. when dad comes home from a day at work playing games or reading to the kids in the family could act as a