A Structural Functionalist Perspective On Family Structures Essay

A Structural Functionalist Perspective On Family Structures Essay

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In the last few decades, family structures and patterns have drastically evolved. Previously, there was little diversity in the way families were structured and in family dynamics. For example, the majority of families consisted of a married father and mother, as well as children. The father was the economic provider for the family, while the mother cared for the children. Recently, family structures have evolved. For example, families now consist of same-sex couples, unmarried couples, couples with no children, single-parent families, divorced families, families with adopted children, etc. Sociological theories such as structural functionalism and feminism can help to answer the question of whether or not changing family structures are negatively impacting society. The institution of the family could be considered to be in crisis, as less people are conforming to the traditional family structure; however, it is better considered to be thriving, as family structures and patterns are becoming more diverse and unique.
According to a structural functionalist perspective, the changing family structures could either be benefitting or burdening society. If the changing family structures are benefitting society, it could be seen through many different aspects of society. For example, by allowing same-sex couples to get married and have a family it could positively impact mental health, which may prevent crimes, suicides, etc. This is due to the fact that every aspect of society is interdependent, according to functionalism, which means that if people are part of a positive, healthy family, no matter the structure, it will benefit other aspects of society. According to a functionalist perspective, another reason that changing family str...


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...milies that are more troubled than families of an unconventional structure or make-up. This can be seen in the case of Genie, as she had a mother and a father, but ended up being sadistically abused (Knuttila and Magnan, 2012, 81). Another reason as to why the institution of the family is not in crisis is that the institution of the family has historically existed in every culture and society. This means that family structures had evolved into the typical nuclear family and they will change to have different structures and patterns, a point that many structural functionalists would agree with. The institution of the family has proven to be adaptive and dynamic. Regardless of family structures and patterns, the institution of the family will continue to thrive and evolve, as the institution of the family has more meaning than the structure and patterns that they have.

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