Functionalist approach Functionalist approach Functionalists are interested in the way society works or how it functions. They make comparisons between the way the human body works to how society works Every organ in the body has a role in keeping the body healthy and functioning well They claim that different institutions or groups in society all play a part in keeping society healthy and functioning well. These institutions include schools, police force, religion and the family How do Functionalists view the Family? At the heart of a healthy society is a well functioning family A stable family unit is key to a stable society This family is an agent of PRIMARY SOCIALISATION, teaching children the norms and values of society Functionalists believe the NUCLEAR family is the ideal family Look at the handout on George Murdock’s theory The 4 main functions of the nuclear Family SEXUAL- Married people have a sex life which prevents them from having affairs which could destabilise the marriage REPRODUCTION Society needs new members if it is to survive over time. The nuclear family has an important role in this through procreation and child rearing. The family reproduces the human race and the future workforce 4 functions of the Nuclear Family PRIMARY SOCIALISATION This is the process whereby children become familiar with the culture and way of life that we are born into Through this we learn how to “fit in” and conform to rules By ensuring that children behave according to the rules, the family acts as an AGENT OF SOCIAL CONTROL If children do not receive adequate primary socialisation then this can be a problem for society 4 functions of the Nuclear Family EMOTIONAL SUPPORT & ECONOMIC PROVISION The nuclear family provides emotional support and comfort for its children It also provides financial support, food and shelter Children are emotionally and economically dependent on their parents Roles in the Family How are these roles divided? Functionalists believe that women are best suited to care for and nurture the family They call this the EXPRESSIVE role Functionalists believe that men are best suited to provide economically for the family They call this the INSTRUMENTAL role Warm Bath Theory Functionalists believe that the nuclear family provides support for all its members. All are provided for with food, shelter and emotional security Functionalists believe the family and home should have the same comforting effect as slipping into a warm bath. The home should be a secure place for all family members where daily stresses are eased away The effect is to stabilise the behaviour of each family member Evaluation What do you think of the Functionalist view of the family? Is the nuclear family the ideal family? Do all family members benefit as the warm bath theory suggests?