Functionalist View of the Family
Functionalist view of the family/2/2/98/P.Covington/Yellow 1995 Family Disc
My family is my hobby respondent from Goldthorpe’s study of Luton Car workers, 1968
George Peter Murdock
Some Conclusions on the issue of is the Family Universal
As we can see from our examples there is evidence to suggest that 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. Yet even, here what is considered normal in one society is considered deviant in another.
There is evidence to such that organizations that are arguably not families are capable of performing the family’s functions. Perhaps the best example is the Kibbutz.
Many sociologists now consider the whole question of whether the family is universal as a non-issue. What is more important is to explore the diversity of families. 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 cultural norms of society, the prevailing economic system, and even the particular family in what point it has reached in its life cycle.
If you want to see further examples of the different types of family, Haralambos looks in particular at the New World Black Family, which according to Murdock’s definition is not a family because it does not contain an adult of each sex. These families tend to consist of a woman and her dependent children. They are matrifocal.
Whether a family is regarded as universal thus depends upon how the family is defined. Clearly, though lots of groupings have been tried.
The Development of Functionalism
The development of the functionalist perspective in sociology has been linked with the discipline of anthropology, which is...