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Examine Different Sociological Views on the Family

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Submitted By hollycrouch
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All families are unique. A few decades ago, the most common type of family was the mother and father living with their unmarried children. Today, families are vastly different including more single-parent households than ever before, stepfamilies, and adopted families, and grandparents raising their grandchildren, as well as young married couples having to move back in with their parents because they do not have the money to afford their own living arrangements yet. Whatever type of family you have there are different perspectives in which to view it. While the perspectives differ greatly from one another, the family still remains one of the most important social institutions along with health-care, religion, education, mass media, politics, and economy. Family is defined as, 'a basic social unit consisting of parent and their children, considered as a group, whether living together or not.' While every family is unique, there are similarities and differences within each family, no matter what perspective you are using. Each theory shows a different type of assumptions and defines a certain way of understanding a social institution, from all four unique perspectives.
Functionalists believe that society is based on a value consensus, into which society socialise its members. They regard society as a system made up of different parts or sub-systems that depend on each other. Functionalists often compare society to a human body – without one organ, the body wouldn’t function, without basic functions of society, society wont perform. In the 1940s Murdock examined 250 societies in different cultures. He found that the family is universal and inevitable as no society had a substitute for the family. He concluded the ‘nuclear family’ is the ideal model and this model achieves four distinct functions: Sexual – the family provides stable sexual relationships for adults…...

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