Functionalism, Conflict Theory, And Symbolic Interactionism Essay

Functionalism, Conflict Theory, And Symbolic Interactionism Essay

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Within society, the role of family and its importance in shaping our behavior cannot be overstated. Whether examining the construct of family through functionalism, conflict theory, or symbolic interactionism; the role of the family in society’s structure is apparent via examination of the social aspects of family from these three perspectives.
The role of family according to the functionalist perspective is to help create the six basic needs necessary for the survival of society. Before going further into the details, the functionalist perspective must first be explained. The Functionalist perspective of sociology teaches that if a society wishes to survive it must fulfill basic requirements. Functionalism views society as a whole unit composed of parts that work together. Functionalists look at the structure and function. Structure is the way parts of society fit together. Function is what each part does. Functions in this case are the actions of people (Henslin, 2014). The actions that people take either help society keep itself in balance. Dysfunctions by contrast, undermine the functions of the system. Functions can be either manifest or latent. Manifest functions are functions that were intended to help part of the system. Latent functions are unintended functions that arise out of consequences of actions which help the system adjust.
With regards to family, this is a universal concept in all societies. According to functionalists, this is due to the fact that family fills six basic needs to the survival of every society. These needs are economic production, socialization of children, care of the sick and aged, recreation, sexual control and reproduction (Henslin, 2014). Every human group has created different forms of famil...

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...omething within brother and sister as opposed to friends. Friends simply do things out of joy of accompaniment with regards to their reactions. With siblings, it is more of an obligation due to the greater degree of commitment inherent within family. Hence symbolism perpetuates the concept of family through its definition of roles.
Whether it’s through the fulfillment of societal functions, the restructuring of roles within marriage, or the definition of roles through symbolic meaning, family is demonstrated through each of these perspectives to be an important aspect of society. Family goes far in its effects through society’s norms and its creation of roles. Although each of these perspectives differs in their opinion of how family affects society, all perspectives conclude that it is the social institution of family that underlies all societal aspects.

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