Relevant, focused and accessible this book will provide students with an indispensible guide to the central concepts of family studies.




As a theory, functionalism sees ‘the family’ as an institution constituting a basic building block of society, performing certain functions that must be fulfilled for social order to be possible and for society to continue.


When people refer to the functions that family fulfils, their meaning may be quite uncertain. They may simply mean that family lives have certain effects or consequences (such as care of children), or they may be implicating functionalism as a sociological theory about the purposes family fulfils for society.

Functionalism was influential in family sociology for many decades. As a sociological theory it is sometimes particularly traced back to the work of the nineteenth-century French sociologist, Durkheim, who wanted to demonstrate that society is more than just the sum of the actions ...

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