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Sociology Paper on Functionalist Essay

Q. Describe the different forms of marriage patterns found across cultures. A. Marriage is a legally recognized and socially approved arrangement between two or more individuals that carries certain rights and obligation and usually involves sexual activities. In the United States, the only legally sanctioned form of marriage is monogamy which is a marriage between two partners usually a man and a woman. Polygamy is the concurrent marriage of a person of one sex with two or more members of the opposite sex.

The most prevalent form of polygamy is polygyny the con current marriage of one man with two or more woman. Polygyny has been practiced in a number of societies; including parts of Europe until the Middle Ages more recently Islamic societies in Africa and Asia have been polygynous; however the cost of providing for multiple wives and numerous children makes the practice impossible for all but the wealthiest men. The second type of polygamy is polyandry the concurrent marriage of one woman with two or more men. Polyandry is very rare, when it does occur, it is typically found in societies where men greatly out number women because of high rates of female infanticide.

Q. Describe the functionalist perspectives on families. A. functionalist emphasize the importance of the family in maintaining the stability of society and the well being of individuals. According to Emile Durkheim, marriage is a microcosmic replica of the larger society; both marriage and the society involve a mental and moral fusion of physically distinct individuals. Durkheim also believed that a division of labor contributes to greater efficiency in all areas of life even though he acknowledged that this division imposes significant limitations on some people. Contemporary functionalist perspectives on families derive their foundation from Durkheim.

Division of labor makes it possible for families to fulfill a member of functions that on other institution can perform as effectively. In advanced industrial societies, families serve four key functions: sexual regulation. Families are expected to regulate the sexual activity of their members thus control reproduction so that it occurs within specific boundaries. At the micro level, incest taboos prohibit sexual contact or marriage between certain relatives. Socialization. Parents and other relatives are responsible for teaching children the necessary knowledge and skills to survive. The smallest and intimacy of families make them suited for providing children with the initial learning experiences they need. Economic and psychological support.

Families are responsible for providing economic and psychological support for members. In preindustrial societies, families are economic production units; in industrial societies, the economic security of families is tied to the workplace and to micro level economic system. Provision of social status. Families confer social status and reputation on their members these statuses include the ascribed statuses with which individuals are born, such as race/ethnicity, nationality, social class, and sometimes religious affiliation. One of the most significant and compelling forms of social placement is the family’s class position and the opportunities (or lack thereof) resulting from the position.

Q. Describe the concept of remarriage and define a blended family. A. Remarriage is when a man or woman divorce and gets married again with the same person or another. Among individuals who divorce before age 35, about half will remarry within three years of their first divorce. Most divorced people remarry others who have been divorced. However, remarriage rates vary by gender and age. At all ages, a greater proportion of men than women remarry, often relatively soon after the divorce. Among women, the older a women is at the time of divorce the lower her likelihood of remarrying. Women who have not graduated from high school and who have young children tend to remarry relatively quickly; by contrast, women with a college degree and without children are less likely to remarry. As a result of divorce and remarriage, complex family relationships are often created. Some people become part of stepfamilies or blended families, which consist of a husband and wife, children from previous marriages, and children from the new marriage.

Q. Describe the functionalist perspective on education. A. Functionalist view education as one of the most important components of society. According to Durkheim, education is the influence exercised by adult generations on those that are not yet ready for social life. Durkheim asserted that moral values are the foundation of cohesive social order and that schools have the responsibility of teaching a commitment to the common morality. From this perspective, students must be taught to put the group’s needs ahead of their individual desires and aspirations. Contemporary functionalist suggest that education is responsible for teaching U.S. values. In analyzing the values and functions of education, sociologist using a functionalist framework distinguishes between manifest and latent functions. Manifest functions in education include teaching specific subjects such as science, mathematics, reading, history, and English.

Q. Provide a brief overview of education, define education, and describe cultural transmission.

A. Education serves five major manifest functions in society: socialization, from kindergarten through college schools teach students, the student role, specific academic subjects, and political socialization. In primary and secondary schools, students are taught specific subject matters appropriate to their age, skill level, and previous educational experience. At the college level, students focus on more detailed knowledge of subjects that they have previously studied while also being exposed to new areas of study and research. Transmission of culture. Schools transmit cultural norms and values to each new generation and play an active part in the process of assimilation. Social control. Schools are responsible for teaching values such as discipline, respect, obedience, punctuality, and perseverance. Social placement. Schools are responsible for identifying the most qualified people to fill available positions in society. Change in innovation. As student’s populations change over time, new programs are introduced to meet societal needs; for example sex education, and multicultural studies have been implemented in some schools to help students learn about pressing social issues.

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