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Title: The family is the basic social group united through bonds of kinship or marriage, present in all societies. Discuss from a sociological point of view.
The family is a social group, which is often reguarded as the corner stone of society, united through the bonds of kinship or marriage. _______(Continue Introduction)____________________________________.
George Murdock studied the social structure of 250 communities, ranging from hunting and gathering ones to large scale industrial societies. He says that; “The family is a social group characterized 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” – George Peter Murdock. His theory goes around only the nuclear family. Murdock’s theory of the family was criticized and this can only mean that ether the family is not universal or Murdock is being too specific about the structure of the family. An example to this critique is the Nayar. This is a community studied by Kathleen Gough in 1959, where girls are married before puberty, and the husband is not obliged to any contact with his wife. The only obligation of the girl to her husband is that she has to attend his funeral. When the girl then reaches puberty, she has to take, ‘visiting husbands’, and have relationships with them. Another critique to Murdock’s definition to the family is divorce where due to divorce the family is not a lifelong union, and after divorce the husbands may have no duty over their children.
There are different types of families, present in all societies, in different cultures there are different types of families. The most common and aspired one is the nuclear family, which can also be branched into the isolated Nuclear family. Talcott Parsons argued that the isolated nuclear family is a typical form of family in the modern industrial society. The isolated nuclear family is not part of the more complex kinship relationship. The isolated nuclear family helps the conjugal bonds between the husband and wife to be strengthened because they depend on each other for emotional support, and cannot turn to their kin. Another type of family is the single parent family, where for one reason or another there is only one adult the mother or the father who is taking care of the children. The reconstructed family is also another type of family. In this family one or both partners were previously married, and had children from their previous marriages. The matrifocal family that is headed by the woman in the family and also consists of her dependent children. These types of families have always existed and they may occur due to; slavery, poverty, war and/or polygyny. Another rising type of family are the gay and lesbian families. This type of family contradicts Murdock’s claims about the family being universal and consist of two adults of the same sex and their adopted children.
The functionalist’s view the family in a different way and their view suggests that the nuclear family has become socially isolated from the kin and therefore arises the idea of the isolated nuclear family, more reliant on the Welfare state and geographically separated from the wider kin. This is because the modern industrial society requires a geographically and socially mobile workforce. The functionalists have been accused of; idealizing the family with a hid picture of well adjusted children and sympathic caring for each other’s every day needs, ignoring conflict within the family, ignoring gender inequality within the family, ignoring rising divorce rates, ignoring growing family diversity.
Another perspective of the family was given by the critical view. The critical view gives a direct challenge to the functionalist view of the family. The critical perspective talks about the dysfunctions of the family, for example, children and emotional scapegoat where the child is used by the parents as an emotional scapegoat for everyday stress. The child most likely to become the emotional scapegoat is the child who is the least attractive and least academically oriented.
The earliest view of the family developed from a Marxist perspective. Marxists explain that the changes within the family reflect the changes within the Capitalist system. They believe that the family serves capitalism. The family does this by socializing children and therefore reproducing both labour power and acceptance of capitalism. Woman’s domestic work is unpaid and so this also benefits the capitalist system. They also argue that the family is a unit of consumption and family members buy goods and services provided by capitalism. There are many criticisms to the Marxist perspective. These include that; the emergence of the nuclear family didn’t actually coincide with the emergence of capitalism, the Marxist view ignores family diversity, the Marxist perspective see’s the nuclear family as being simply determined by the economy, where other factors such as social factors are present.
This above all shows us that the family is found worldwide in different forms and different people all have their theories about the family. _____________________(Continue Conclusion)_____________________________.