Evaluate the view that in modern industrial society the family is undergoing a loss of function

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the major perspectives in sociology is structural functionalism.  This perspective argues that every aspect of a society is like an organ for a living organism.  That is, each aspect of a society has an important function in keeping that society “alive” and stable.  The family has always played an important function in society and I do not think that it has lost that function.

There is one function that the family once performed that has been lost.  That is the function of creating and organizing a labor force.  Families were once needed to provide all of the labor on farms.  Now that family farms make up only a very tiny percentage of the households in modern societies, this role is being lost.

However, family’s more important functions continue to exist.  Families are a way to arrange for procreation and to make it more economically feasible.  Families are a way to arrange for the care and for the socialization of children into the norms of the society.  Families are a way to ensure that people’s emotional and physical needs are met.  While families are not as strong as they once were, they still do perform all of these functions.  If families were to cease to exist, society would be badly damaged.

In short, then, I do not believe that this statement is, on balance, accurate.

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