Functionalists believe that society is something that is based on value consensus (meaning a set of shared norms and values). It socialises with its institutions and this gives the ability to meet the needs and goals of society. Also Functionalists see the family as providing positive functions for society and individuals; Functionalism supports the family in nearly every way, to the support it offers to the next generation and the way it teaches them the four functions they need to survive. However there are also several criticisms of functionalism from groups such as feminists.
Functionalists also have a biological analogy and compared the different parts of society to the organs of a living organism. This organism is able to live, function and reproduce through this system of its several parts and organs. So because of the likeness to a biological organism society is able to maintain its essential processed through the different parts interacting together.
The sociologist G P Murdock argued that the family performs four essential functions, these being socialisation of children, regulation of sexual activity, reproduction and economic maintenance. Socialisation involves transmitting a society's way of life, norms and values the the younger members of the family so they internalise the culture in their community and learn their future gender roles. Regulation of sexual activity is catering the sexual needs of adult members of the family (the mother and father) and it also limits the access of other members of the society thereby maintaining stability. Reproduction is bearing and raising children for the future generation and is safer in a family as a father can protect the children and the mother. Economic maintenance is making sure the men provide the family with safety and money to live on where the women take on lighter tasks such as nursing and pregnancy.
The sociologist Parsons is also a functionalist and claimed that the family provides two...