Sociological Perspectives on Family
Sociological theories are the center and fundamental quality of the family aspect. They manage and guide theorists and scholars in their studies. They likewise give direction to practitioners in their mediation techniques. What’s more, they will give individuals an essential comprehension of how to see the bigger social picture in their very own life. Sociological theories are an arrangement of interrelated ideas used to depict, clarify, and foresee how society and its parts are identified with one another. In the study of the family there are four fundamental sociological views or theories that are used to describe the family, they include; functionalist view, conflict view, interactionist view and Feminist view. The functionalist view emphasizes on family as a contributor to social stability. The conflict view emphasizes that the family is the perpetuator of inequality and social instability. Interactionist view emphasizes on the relationship between family members. Lastly, Feminist view emphasizes that the family is the perpetuator of gender roles. This paper will discuss in detail the four aforementioned sociological perspectives on family.
Functionalism is a structure that considers society to be a complex framework whose parts cooperate to advance solidarity and strength. Thusly, society is similar to a living being and every part of society e.g. foundations, is similar to an organ that cooperates to keep the entire body working efficiently. This perspective takes a look at society through macro-level scale, which is a wide concentrate on the social structures that shape society all in all. Functionalism addresses society as far as the capacity of its constituent components: standards, traditions, customs and organizations. According to functions, the family has six important functions. The first one is reproduction where the family has to sire new members to replace the deceased ones. The second function is protection where the family unit has to provide care and upbringing of the children and also economic security for the members. Socialization is the third function whereby the children are monitored by their parents and are instilled with the family cultural values, norms and language. The fourth function is regulation of sexual behavior; the family is supposed to define sexual norms as children grow with age as they should be according to the family’s culture. The fifth function is affection and companionship; the family unit should provide a sense of security, intimacy and care to the family members. The last function of the family is provision of social status i.e. the children are able to inherit different attributes of the family lineage such as race, ethnicity, property, legacy, etc. There are other functions of the family such as education but they have been taken up by modern formal institutions (Schaefer).
The Conflict view alludes to the imbalances that exist in all social orders universally. Conflict perspective is especially intrigued by the different parts of dominant status in social position; the essential distinguishing attribute for an individual are as far as ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, and financial status. As per the Conflict worldview, each community is tormented by imbalance/inequality taking into account social contrasts among the dominant group and the other groups in the community. As indicated by conflict theory proponents, the family moves in the direction of the duration of social disparity inside of a society by keeping up and fortifying existing conditions. Since legacy, education, inheritance and property are transferred through the family framework; affluent families can keep their favored social position for their family members, while people from poor families are denied comparable status. Conflict sociologists view the family as a tool of the capitalist order, creating discord and competition within the society (Gerardi).
The interactionist theory is also known as the symbolic interactionism perspective. Interactionism is a social hypothesis that centers on the investigation of trends in correspondence, elucidation, and alteration between people in connection to the implications of symbolss. As indicated by the hypothesis, an individual’s verbal and nonverbal reactions are built in desire of how the other party will respond. Typical interactionists additionally investigate the changing implications attached to family. They contend that common exercises fabricate enthusiastic bonds among relatives, and that marriage and family connections depend on arranged implications (Denzin et al.). The interactionist point of view accentuates that families strengthen and restore bonds through typical component ceremonies, for example, family dinners and occasions.
Feminist view is a wide term that is the consequence of a few recorded social developments endeavoring to increase equal social, economic and political rights for women. At first feminist view concentrated mostly on equality in legal matters, for example, voting, training, occupation, marriage laws, white, and working class ladies. Secondly feminism went above and beyond by looking for equality in job occupation, sexuality and family (Hammer). Feminist theorists are against domestic roles being synonymous to the women.
In conclusion, according to the different theorists that views family in a different perspective, those supporting the conflict view provides a negative view to the family. It can be deduced that from their views that either families should not exist or they should not be closely knit as they are so that others can be able to benefit from the family fortunes and intimacy. Functionalist view theorists state the functions of the family which act as form of comfort, protection and guidance for the members. Feminist view focuses on the women in the family unit and portrays them as capable to lad the family and should be handed equal rights as the men. Lastly the symbolic interactionism discusses how family members interact with each other in the family set up.