Is it true that the family is universal?
Some societies have very different arrangements for carrying out the role of family. Certainly, many societies have the nuclear family as the most common grouping. What is considered 'normal' in one society can be considered deviant in another.
Many sociologists now consider the whole question of whether the family is universal as non-issue. From this perspective the family is socially created, it is not simply a natural unit created by biological necessities, rather it is influenced by social factors.
The thought of families being universal, firstly was argued by an American Anthropologist, George Peter Murdock (1949) he states, ''The family is a social group characterised by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults.'' Murdock believed that the nuclear family is 'a universal social grouping' this meaning that a nuclear family is found in all societies.
The new right thinkers argued that the families are universal because the are 'vital' they believed that the family teaches morality and discipline as it is a very important part of primary socialisation. The new right also believed that the decline of the traditional view of the family is very damaging for the society as a whole.
Talcott Parsons (1955), was an American functionalist, and he mainly focused on the nuclear family in 'modern industrial society'. He believes that due to modernisation families have become increasingly specialised. As a results of pre-industrial society, families tend to rely on special institutions ( social services, schools) rather than education their children and looking after the elderly them selves. Parsons also however had a more positive view of the family when he claimed that family retains two...