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The impact of sociological views on the family unit

1.How does functionalsim, conflict and interactionism apply to the family unit ? What are the similarities? What are the differences?

Functionalism:

As applied to the family unit, functionalism would claim that each member of the family is interdependent and contributes to the functioning of the family as a whole. When all family members are playing their part and have good attitudes there is balance, peace and unity in the family. When any one member is rebelling against his/her role or responsibilities then the family as a whole suffers imbalance, stress, disunity and dysfunctional tendencies. Functionalists would also claim that the family will work best when each member has some power to agree or disagree with what is decided. By having input into decisions each member feels validated and the family can grow based on the idea of consensus rather than authoritarianism.

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1. How does functionalism, conflict and interactionism apply to the family unit ? What are the similarities? What are the differences?

Functionalism:
As applied to the family unit, functionalism would claim that each member of the family is interdependent and contributes to the functioning of the family as a whole. When all family members are playing their part and have good attitudes there is balance, peace and unity in the family. When any one member is rebelling against his/her role or responsibilities then the family as a whole suffers imbalance, stress, disunity and dysfunctional tendencies. Functionalists would also claim that the family will work best when each member has some power to agree or disagree with what is decided. By having input into decisions each member feels validated and the family can grow based on the idea of consensus rather than authoritarianism.

Conflict Theory:
Each family member experiences conflict with the others. Parents desire obedience, help with chores, peace and quiet and a reasonable amount of respect and obedience. Children expect parents to drive them around to social events and then leave them alone. Children place a high priority on independence and resent parents telling them what to do. They are horrified by the way their parents dress and are mortified if their parents want to be around them in public. Siblings compete with each other for their parents' affection when they are younger and for gifts and privileges when they are older. They never want to be asked to do more work than their siblings yet they always want more privileges than their other siblings.

Interactionism:
Family members attach meaning to words and symbols and extrapolate meaning from these symbols. Consider the idea of "clean". A parent who tells his child to go clean their room attaches certain meaning to the word "clean." The child, of course, applies a completely different, and in most cases more liberal, meaning of the word "clean." "Fair" is another great word illustrating interactionism. A child claims that parents are not being fair because they don't buy them the latest Ipod like their friends have. A parent feels like it's not fair that their child does little work around the house, complains about anything the parent asks him to do, and yet expects to be fed, sheltered, left alone, chauffeured around town at a moment's notice and financially funded. Other words or symbols that illustrate interactionism are the concepts of: "good music", "loud", "style", "appropriate clothes", "a nice boy", "hair cut", ...

Solution Summary

This discussion focuses on the impact that sociological perspectives have on the family unit. Specifically the sociological viewpoints of functionalism, interactionism and conflict are analyzed. Over 1,700 words of original text along with links to informative websites.

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