The Marxist and Functionalist Perspectives on the Family Essay

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The Marxist and Functionalist Perspectives on the Family

For the purpose of this essay question I will discuss the Marxist and the Functionalist perspectives on the Family. I will compare and contrast them and give a critical analysis of each and place them in historical context as well as modern day. In Britain today there are many different types of families. A social unit living together defines what a family is. The family resembles the core feature of society. Both Marxist and Functionalist perspectives believe the family is what holds society together and helps socialise the future generations.

There are three types of family existing in today’s society. The nuclear family resembles a
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They both agreed the family is the best organisational basis for modern industrial societies. George Murdock focussed his family theory on the four basics: Sexual, reproductive, economic and educative (socialisation). He believed without sexual and reproductive aspects there would be no existing members of society. Without economy there would be no means to provide for the family. Without education there would be no culture and human society without culture could not function. Murdock appreciate than apart from this the family performed many more functions for society. Murdock critically claimed that the nuclear family was universal. Murdock did not appreciate alternative studies such as Banaro, New Guinea where instead of the ‘father’ being biological to his son/daughter, in fact the father’s friend was the biological father to his friend’s son/daughter. Murdock believed families were joined by a common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. Talcott Parsons on the other hand concentrated on modern American society. He believed society was dependant of two basic irreducible functions: Primary socialisation and the stabilisation of adult personalities. Primary socialisation refers to socialisation during the early years of childhood, which would occur mainly within a family unit. Secondary socialisation

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