Assess the view that the nuclear family is functional for societies and individuals
The nuclear family consists of a husband and wife and one or more children, biological or adopted, it is defined by Murdock and he believed that the nuclear family is 'a universal social grouping.' Parsons focuses on the nuclear family in modern industrial society. He argues that the family has become increasingly specialised.
Functionalist George Murdock suggested an idea of universality of the family as family is the basic and vital institution in all societies. Murdock defined the family as social group characterized by common residence, consisting of adults of both sexes and dependant children. Talcott Parsons described the family as a 'warm bath', because he believed that the family helps to relieve stress and tension from work, and helps adults personalisities stabilize, and make the family members happy.
Primary socialisation is the most important stage in the socialisation process, it is usually initiated by the family and it teaches you norms and values to be able to live in the society around you. Parsons argues that every person must learn the norms and values of society. The second essential function of the family. Unstable personalities can threaten the stability and smooth-running of society. According to Parsons, families help to stabilise adult.
Feminists and Marxists see the nuclear family as a part of a capitalist system made to benefit the capitalist class itself. The traditional structure of the nuclear family is essentially seen as serving men and oppressing women. They believe it comes as a result of the economic dependency that women come to develop as a result of men being the "bread winners".