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Essay example - Functionalist Family

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Functionalist approaches to sociology bear similarity with other approaches to sociology. However, functionalist approaches tend to lay more emphasis on function, equilibrium, consensus, interdependence and evolutionary theory. Functionalism tends to focus on the macro-sociological perspective of the existing institutional structures in the society…

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As such, these parts tend also to function in an orderly manner, with minimal conflict. Even when the different parts are not in equilibrium (which they usually are in), their interrelationship is one of consensus, rather than conflict. In this regard, the role of functionalists is to examine social phenomena and its significance to society as a whole (Murdock 1949).
The emergence of functionalism as an anthropology school of thought came about in the twentieth century. The development of functionalism at that time is especially credited to two renowned anthropologists of the Great Britain; A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, and Bronislaw Malinowski. In this regard, functionalism as a theory sought to check on the excesses of the nineteenth century diffusionists and evolutionary theories, as well as the theory of historicism later in the twentieth century (Goldscmidt 1996).
Functionalists hold the argument that the nuclear family is capable of fulfilling many roles which have an impact on the larger society. One of the functionalists, Parsons, believes in the contemporary role of the family; the instrumental role of the male, and the expressive role of the female. Whilst the male works as a bread winner, the female gives care and emotional support to the husband and children.
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