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Evaluate the functionalist theory of the family In this essay I intend to analyse some of the theories behind the functionalist perspective of the family it is my intention to look at two main theorists in this field Murdock and Parsons I to analyse their theories and give objective argument for the pros and cons of the functionalist family I intend to break this down by looking at the theorists separately and then looking at arguments against the functionalist family Sociology second edition by Giddens 1993 states that functionalism is a theoretical perspective based on the notion that social events can be explained in functions they perform that is the contribution they make to the continuity of society Breaking this down further Murdock 1949 states that the definition of the family is a social group characterised by common residents economic co-operation and reproduction it includes adults of both sexes at least two of whom maintain as socially approved sexual relationship and one or more children are own or adopted of the sexually cohabiting adults The structures of the family varies from society to society the smallest family group is the nuclear family and consists of a husband and wife and the immature offspring units larger than the nuclear family are known as extended families and can be seen as extensions of the nuclear family This can have vertical extensions for example older members of the family living in the same household A grandmother or grandfather and also can have horizontal extensions an example of this would be a brother-in-law or sister-in-law of the spouses living in the same house But functionalists felt that the nuclear family was most adapted to the functionalist theory as it is insular and mobile therefore aiding society by keeping up with economic movement but in the process becoming detached from the extended family support Murdoch carried out an analysis of the 250 societies and felt that
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