As such, families on aggregate set the tone and define social structure within a given culture. Accordingly, it provides a useful vehicle to examine sociological constructs and how they affect our thinking as individuals, and as members of a group.
For purposes of this essay, three sociological theories will be analyzed as they relate to the family. The theories of functionalism, conflict, and interactionism will all be weighed and analyzed as to how and to what extent they exercise influence over the family unit and the dynamics and relationships between those members within the family. Additionally, the adoption of each specific theory will be weighed against societies health if all interactions between groups and individuals were carried out within the given theory’s constructs.
Firstly, this essay will examine functionalist theory as to how it molds and shapes the family unit. Functionalism may be defined as a theory that views society as a complex system whose parts ideally work together to promote cohesion, unity, solidarity, and stability (McLennan, 2011). At a macro view, this is the goal that a traditional family unit doubtless aspires. However, the social structures that impact upon functionalism are the driving force behind its power, lack of power, success, or failure. The degree of societal complexity, along with the minimalization of individual perceptions and importance further defines functionalism as a sociological theory.
In short, functionalism attempts to reduce the role of the individual/group’s importance with regards to impact on society and focus upon “organs” (customs, traditions, institutions) to define the function of society as a whole. Naturally, such a progressive change would not be able to take affect if it were not for the role of the individual on the group. As such, the family would well be recognized to be one of those “organs” that works to influence society. This