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June 13, 2013 / C H Thompson

Criticisms of functionalist views of the family

Murdock wasn’t without his critics:

  • Murdock assumes all families function well, such an approach ignores less ‘happy’ families
  • neither does he recognise the role other institutions might play

Parson’s has his critics too:

  • Like Murdock Parsons is said to have an idealistic view of the family
  • he ignores family diversity
  • Parsons’ (structural approach – functionalism is a structural approach) forgets children create their own personalities – social action approach
  • Parsons views assumes the family works in isolation ignoring the role of other institutions in allowing primary socialisation to occur in the first place. For example having paid employment  to provide the family home

Due to the period of time they were writing in, both Murdock and Parsons see the nuclear family as the ideal type of family, therefore another criticism is their views ignore the diversity of family forms.




Leave a Comment
  1. IAmAPenguin / Mar 24 2014 5:47 am

    Hi, there are alot of grammatical mistakes in it. Confused me a bit, if you could correct this it would be great for others! Other than that great job! Thanks

    • sociologytwynham / Mar 24 2014 11:26 am

      Well spotted, thanks

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