Although not discussing contemporary British society, Functionalist George Murdock (1949) argues that the family is universal.He studied 250 societies ranging from agricultural to industrial, and claimed that the nuclear family could be found in every society.The family unit has two irreducible functions; the primary socialization of the young, involving teaching the norms and values of culture to ensure society remains harmonious and stable, and to ensure the stabilization of the human personality by providing a safe haven, using the analogy of the ‘warm bath’.
Although not discussing contemporary British society, Functionalist George Murdock (1949) argues that the family is universal.Tags: Methods Of Research And Thesis Writing By Calderon PdfOpinion Essay About MulticulturalismEssay On Of Mice And Men DreamsBusiness Plans For Sales RepsSolve Stoichiometry ProblemsCase Studies For Teaching ReadingSkin Term Papers
However, if we ‘modernize’ the argument of Murdoch and the functionalists, we can see that although other family forms exist, they are based around the nuclear family.
Foster claims the extended family is of increasing importance in modern Britain.
He noted that there were some variances, although he emphasized that in all family forms the nuclear family was the building block This can be criticized due to the diverse nature of families in contemporary life.
The very notion of the nuclear family being universal is questionable, as various family forms are evident, such as the communal Kibbutz in Israel, and the female headed matrifocal family in African-Caribbean communities.
He cannot deny that contemporary British life, which is increasingly secular, has appeared to reject the institution of marriage, and the necessity for the nuclear family.
Singlehood is on the increase, and people are choosing this because of a creative choice, a view advocated by Postmodernists.
Instead, he uses the concept of the neo-conventional family, to describe how the nuclear family has adapted to meet the changing demands of society, including more integrated gender roles as more women enter the labour market.
Chester is keen to point out that despite other family forms, most people live in a household headed by a married couple.
De’Ath and Slater (1992) agree this type of family is increasingly common, but suggest there are many tensions and complications that can emerge.
The Tory government appears to believe that the nuclear family is the aspiration for most of ‘mainstream society’.