Sociological Theories On The Family Essay

1524 words - 7 pages

Sociology has many different sociological theories. Sociological theories are statements on how and why certain facts about the social world are related. A few sociological theories include the, functionalist theory, conflict theory, and interactionism. Family happens to be a social institution that can be applied to all these fundamental sociological approaches.

Most of the time when we think of what a family is , we will think of a nuclear family. This “nuclear family” would normally consist of a married couple, man and women, with one or a few children. This is not the most common form of family these days. Today we have gay and lesbian families, single parent families, ...view middle of the document...

So now you can see how the functionalist theory views family as a framework for a complex system to promote stability into the family.
The conflict theorist focuses more on the family structure and how the family works towards the continuance of social inequality in a society by maintain and reinforcing the status quo. Throughout this family structure you have things such as social capitol, education, and even inheritance that gets transmitted and thus helping the wealthy families stay wealthy and keep their social positions, while you have the poor families that are denied such status due to being underprivileged. Also the conflict theorist will look at the family as being in a social arrangement where the men seem to gain a position of power and benefit more than the women do. This is also looking at the more traditional family also known as the nuclear family. Today most households in a traditional nuclear family have two parents that work, but usually the women will work just as many hours as the man and still have roles such as cooking and cleaning but the men is still looked at as more powerful.
The symbolic interactionalist perspective is a theory that analyzes interpretation, patterns of communication, and adjustment between the individuals in society. The symbolic interactionalist will look at the meanings attached to family and how the activities a family share can build bonds between them. This theory is considered the framework for understanding how the individuals in a family unit interact with each other and throughout society by the meaning of symbols. Interactionalist focus much on the role taking as a key mechanism that teaches an individual to better appreciate another’s role and to better understand their role. Have you ever watched your own children play house? This activity is a great example of role taking. This activity is played in many different households such as the nuclear family, the gay and lesbian family and the single parent family as well. You can see there is a difference in the activity as far as roles go. In a single parent household this activity may be played a bit different compared to that of a nuclear family. If this activity is played in a nuclear family, normally you can notice that the children will play house as they see it in their own household. A child will use the role of daddy to go to work and mommy to cook and clean and change the baby’s diaper. In a single parent household when a child is playing house there may not even be a daddy in the game because they are mocking what they see at home. This symbolic interactionalist theory will also emphasize on how families reinforce their bonds with symbolic rituals such as holidays and family meals.
As much as these theories are different, they are also similar in many ways. The functionalist and the conflict theory are similar with their theory on family. Both these theories believe that family is universal and fulfills many...

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