Assess the view that in today's society the family is loosing its functions (24 marks)
there are many different sociologists who look in the families place in today's society and assess the level of function to family that family has today.
The nuclear family provides functions for society, Murdock supports the theory that the family allows its members to express their sexuality in a socially approved way. This also allows for the reproduction of children needed for society. The family defines what is socially acceptable according to sex with controls, over dating, pre-marital sex and marital sex. Chaos would be resulted without these controls. However, some theorists argue that the nuclear family is loosing functions. This is because in Britain since the 1970s there has been an increase in the reproduction of children before, alongside and outside marriage with lone parent families and increased divorce as part of a greater choice in society. Post-modernism argue that ...view middle of the document...
With children attending school from 5 to 16, means schools provide this function mostly. Also, the increase in children's centres, child minders, pre-schools and playgroups have meant that not only do the family teach norms and values as part of primary socialisation. Also, the rise of suffragette mothers means that not all reproduction takes place within the traditional nuclear family. This is further demonstrated by lesbian families.
The nuclear family provides functions for the society economically. The theorist Fetcher argues that family has more functions as the family plays an important role as a unit of consumption with the buying of consumer goods as a family like washing machines, broadband and package holidays. Another theorist, Murdock, supports the view that the family provides food and shelter for family members. Today this continues with support for children up to university age and even beyond that with support for mortgages. Nevertheless some sociologists argue that the nuclear family is loosing functions economically. This is because the development of the welfare stare means it is not just the family who provides economic support for the family, the NHS, social workers and the benefit system all play a role in this functions today.
The nuclear family provides functions for the society through stabilization, which was Parsons idea. (warm bath theory). Parsons believes that families are places of enjoyment where men can relax after work. Couples have the joy of romantic love, while children enjoy the unconditional love from their parents. Family teach children what is rigth and wrong through the use of positive and negative sanctions. Murdock believes that in the family children learn socially acceptable behaviour and their culture helping to build value consensus. Although, some sociologists such as Leach argue that the nuclear family is loosing functions through stabilization. In 1967 Leach argues that the family has become inward looking and leads to emotional stress not enjoyment and stabilization like Parsons claims. Family members expect too much from each other leading to stress and conflict.
Overall, the family does provide functions for society through sexual/reproduction, socialisation, economically and stabilization.