The family is one of the most important institutions with various perspectives. Various theories have been created that look at this important institution. The feminist theory looks at the family in terms of the dominance of men. In this theory, men are not only seen to dominate women in the family, but in all spheres of the family too. The theory is of the notion that the gender difference myth, which has been advocated by many, is just a gimmick, which serves to legitimize the oppression that women get from men. On the other hand, the functionalist theory looks at the family as a very important aspect of the family. The theory looks at the family as a very important component of the society, which helps to bring cohesion and oneness. Another theory is that of Marxist. This theorist argues that the family is a very important aspect of the society and has a role to play. It is in contrast with the functionalist relation about the purpose of the family. This paper will evaluate these theories and will look at the strong points that each theory advocates.
This theory advocates that the family is there to serve a very important aspect of the society. There is also the Conflict Theory. In this theory, Marxist advocates that the family should be seen in the overall view of what they contribute to the society. The family has some economic importance. The difference that comes to fore when the conflict theory is compared to the functionalist theory is the fact that there are many perspectives in which the family is viewed here. One perspective is the fact that upper class men in the society have a different role than the working class women[ CITATION Ben05 \l 1033 ]. Marxist further argues that the family has the role of socialization and that the socialization function has some dimension of ideology. In this theory, people are not automatically specialized to the society in which they belong. There must be some institution, which shape them to be readily accepted in the society. The fundamental argument that is present here is the fact that the role of the family is to maintain and reproduce fundamental social inequalities by presenting them as either natural or normal in the context of the process of socialization.
The history of the family can be traced to Engels (1884) who introduced the very first views of the family basing on the view of Marxist[ CITATION Har08 \l 1033 ]. Engels came up with the evolutionary view of the family that as the mode of production changed, the family also changed. Even with the many in the capitalist society are fond to be powerless, they are found to be dominating in the family. Men find the family as a source of illusion of power and use this institution as an escape from the stress they get from work. This has resulted in violence of men against women and children in the family[ CITATION Mur49 \l 1033 ].
This theory is based on the notion that the family serves a very important aspect of the society. The theory looks at how the family serves many functions of the society and how it is related with the other functionalities of the society. According to the functionalist theory, things are in existence because they are necessary functionally[ CITATION Lee82 \l 1033 ]. This is what the functionalist theory is based on. Things are there in existence because there is something, which they are supposed to do. According to the functionalist, the family is there to solve an issue that is there in the society and in the process will promote the values at any opportunity presents itself.
Some common stand is in tandem with the common knowledge of the family. One of them is the fact that nuclear system of the family serves the needs that are required in the modern times of the industrial system. Another agreement is that the family is universal and is shown by its nuclear structure. The third agreement is the fact that the family is used for socialization purpose. It serves the purpose of integrating the society and the aspects that come with it. The family has the function of making people have the sense of belonging to the many people who are in existence. The family is viewed, in this theory, as a form of unity and brings with it the social order that is so desired (Murdock, 1949).
The economic function of the society is seen to be in the sense that the people living together will have the division of labor that goes with economy. This is advocated by Haralambos (2008, pp. 463).
The feminist theory takes the view that men are generally seen to oppress women and that they take women to be people who should be under them at all times. They practice this in the fact that women are exploited in a capitalist society. This is the most influential theory of all the theories[ CITATION And07 \l 1033 ]. Like the Marxist theory, this theory criticizes the family very much. The theory stresses the opinion that the family has harmful effects on women. This theory brings about new issues that come with the family like the domestic violence and the housework and its imbalance. The theory raises the high dominance of men in the family. It has stressed the importance and the relevance of power in the family.
In conclusion, the theories highlight the various functions and the perspectives that the family can be taken. Of all the perspectives, the feminist approach is the most pronounced because of the fact that it espouses what is seen in the society today.
Andersen, M. L., & Taylor, H. F. (2007). Sociology: Understanding a diverse society. New York: Cengage Learning.
Bengston, V. L. (2005). Sourcebook of amily theory and research. New York: Sage.
Haralamboos, M. (2008). Sociolog: Themes and perpsectives. New York: Collins.
Lee, G. R. (1982). Family structure and interaction: A comparitive analysis. Minnesota: Uiversity of Minnesota Press.
Murdock, G. P. (1949). The universal functions of the family. New York: Collins.