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Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere Assess the Contribution of Functionalism to Our Understanding of Role of Education

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There is a belief from Functionalist’s that there is a shared value consensus, this is norms and values into which society socialises people, this enables society to get along and meet society’s needs. Functionalists believe that the family is regarded as a basic building block of society. George Murdoch (1949) argues that the family performs four essential functions to meet the needs of society and its members. These functions are; economic needs, reproduction, primary socialisation and sex.He do believe that these goals should be reached within a nuclear family and that’s the best way to do it. However, some sociologists would argue that these needs can be met in other ways than within the family. For example, other family types such as an extended family or institutions such as the Kibbutz in Israel can be used for primary socialisation and economic security. Other needs such as reproduction and sex can also be prostitution and other things.

Marxist and Feminist sociologists have criticised Murdoch’s theory. They say that Functionalism ignores conflict and exploitation within society. Feminists see the family as being patriarchal and serving the needs of men and Marxists see the family as meeting the needs of capitalism and not the needs of the family members.

According to Parsons there are two types of society, pre and post-industrial. Parsons argues that when britain began to industrialise from the 18th century onwards then the extended family became redundant and made way for the nuclear family. Parsons believes that this change happened because the needs of the society changed, he identified that post-industrial societies have two basic needs. First people had to be physically mobile, as in a modern society industries are constantly springing up in one area and declining in another. Therefore people had to be able to move to where the work was…...

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