Functionalists see class as an essential, unavoidable characteristic of the modern societies. They believe that the differences in wealth and power are justified and act as an incentive for all. Functionalists look upon society as a system made up of different parts that depend on each other; the family, the education system and the economy.
Functionalism is often compared to the system of the human body. The organs perform functions vital to the well being of the body as a whole, so the family meets some of society’s vital needs, for example, the need to socialise children. Educating children is of great importance to the family. It prepares them for the working world that they will one day be entering in to which will determine a great part of their life, and also teaches them of fundamental skills and essential values of society, including the structure of society. Family values are used to integrate children into school, for instance a child will learn what is sociably acceptable with their manners and they way they react to certain situations. Without the family integrating the child into this way of life, the child will likely act in ways which others will see as socially improper. In turn, the values learnt by the family and by school with then help integrate them into society to begin their working life.
Talcott Parsons suggested that there is two types of family. Nuclear families consist of parents and dependent children which fits industrial society and the father generally makes the money, being ‘The Bread Winner’, where as the extended family includes three generations living under one roof or very close together which is pre-industrial, where they money is made by more than one member of the family. In modern industrial society, there is mainly nuclear families, although these days, with an increase of divorced couples increasing; broken, single families are on the rise.
Pre-industrial society refers to how society was before the arrival of...