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The family serves different functions in society, depending upon which sociological theory is applied to it, even though the family itself remains the same, despite being viewed from different perspectives.
We will consider the institution of the family according to the functionalist theory, the conflict theory, and the Interactionist theory. Each of the three sociological theories takes a different view of the social institution of family.
These functions have been identified as reproduction, protection, socialization, regulation of social behavior, affection and companionship, and the provision of social status. The reproductive function of a family is fairly obvious, as it is necessary for people to reproduce if the society is to continue into the future.
The protective function of a family goes along with the reproductive function, since it is not enough to produce infant members of a society if those members are not protected from harm. Socialization and the regulation of social behavior go together, as individuals in a family learn what social behaviors are and are not acceptable as they are socialized by interactions with other family members.
For most people, the family is the first and most important source of affection and companionship. The assignment of social status is a function of the family as an individual becomes a spouse, a parent, or a grandparent. Institution of Family 3 Children often acquire social status because of the roles their relations play in society.
Similarly, parents and other family members may gain or lose social status based on the social status of one or more members of the family.
Where functionalists view the family as a cohesive unit, conflictists view the family as a disparate collection of individuals who act upon one another in a variety of ways. Conflict theorists see the power and status that are often accorded the husband and father as a representation of the power and status that men typically hold over women in the world.
More affluent families transfer more power, property, and privilege to new generations than poorer families are able to do. Interactionists examine the relationships that actually make up a family. These may include spousal relationships, parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, and also the modern variations, which include single parent families, blended families, and same- sex couples in families.
They may also include self-proclaimed family groups that do not involve any relationships by blood, marriage, or adoption.
Functionalism and conflict theory are different in that functionalism examines how the institution of family contributes to the stability of society, whereas conflict theory examines how the family reflects the inequalities and problems in society. Functionalism affects the views of the individual who is a part of the family in that it tends to identify the roles of the members of the family.
Parents are assigned the functions of reproducing, and of educating the children that result from reproduction. Husbands are often given the function of providing for the material needs of the family, while wives are often given the function of providing for the emotional and spiritual needs of the family.
When a family is a source of nurture, it serves to help stabilize the society around it, but when a family becomes a source of suffering, it serves to destabilize society.
Conflict theory affects the views of the family member as each individual recognizes his or her role in the family as a representation of social and economic inequality in the larger society. A husband may see himself as the head of his household, with power and status over the rest of the family, if the society includes male domination of positions of authority.
Wives and children may be financially dependent on the male head of the family, reflecting the economic disparity between the upper and lower classes in society. Functionalism does not favor social change within the institution of the family, since functionalists seek the stability of society.
Social change does not, by its nature, promote stability. Institution of Family 6 Conflict theory tends to welcome social change within the family institution, as that change tends to mirror the changes that take place in society. Not all social change is positive, and this is reflected in families.
Interactionism affects the approach to social change within the family by considering how social change alters the relationships between and among the members of the family. When women began working outside the home and contributing to the finances of the family, relationships between husbands, who had been the wage earners, and wives, who had been the home makers, had to change.
Changes of this type are often slow in coming, and the particular changes between husbands and wives, in which household responsibilities become equally shared in families in which both spouses work, have not yet taken root in many families.
Within the institution of the family, functionalism affects the views of society as it identifies how the family contributes to the stability of society.
When society looks at the function of the family, it often becomes the function of society to bolster those family functions that are not working. For example, if a family cannot adequately feed its members, then society may institute programs to assist families in obtaining food.
Society also develops opinions about the functions of families and their members. The unequal relationships of power and status within the family contribute to the inequality of society. Society makes decisions about what is normal and acceptable in society based on what kinds of relationships are most prevalent in society.Apr 24, · The family is the nucleus of civilization and the basic social unit of society.
Aristotle wrote that the family is nature’s established association for the supply of mankind’s everyday wants. What one would constitute a family may not be the same in the views of another.
The government classifies a family as a relation of two or more people through blood and or marriage (Welch , Pg.
7). Essay on Changing Family Patterns – The family as a basic social institution has been undergoing change. The modern family radically differs from that of the traditional one.
The modern family radically differs from that of the traditional one. Just something I threw together after witnessing enough racism at my very diverse Californian high school and after reading some books.
Industrial Society: The Family In all industrial societies, the nuclear family is the dominant form of family life. Once the extended family is no longer economically adaptive, the emphasis on the nuclear family may well be encouraged by the desire of individuals in the West for greater.
Read this essay on Social Media Essay. Come browse our large digital warehouse of free sample essays. Social media distorts our views on society and the real world, affecting the way that people communicate and has made us more dependent on a screen than face-to-face.
Personal a) Pros: Communication with family, meeting new and old.