Functionalists And Families Essay

631 words - 3 pages

IntroductionExamine the view that the nuclear family is universal. 24 The nuclear family is one which is often described as a household, of two parents and their dependent children. This is a view widely accepted by many sociologists, but they also argue that this may or may not be the universal family that all societies base their norms around. George Murdock, claims that this is true and that this type of nuclear family is universal and accepted by all as the 'right' type of family, however other sociologists specifically, Kathleen Gough, reject this claim and say that there are societies that are an exception to the rule. George Murdock in 1949 stated that the nuclear family was universal, this was based on his sample of 250 societies, ranging from small hunting and gathering bands to large-scale industrial societies. Murdock's definition of the family is that it is "a social group characterised 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 cohabitating adults", this Murdock claimed was the nuclear family that existed in every society, and this family had four main functions.MiddleThe final way this type of family rejects the claim that the nuclear family is universal is that the husbands and wives did not form an economic unit. Although husbands might give wives token gifts, they were not expected to maintain them, it was even frowned upon if they attempted to. Instead, the economic unit consisted of a number of brother and sisters, sister's children and their daughter's children. The eldest male was the leader of each group of kin. Gough claimed marriage and the family existed in the Nayar society. In order to make this claim, the definition of a family would have to be broadened and would...

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