Functionalist approach

Functionalist approach
Functionalist approach
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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?
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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?
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