Critically examine the role of the institution of family?



Family is one of the most basic institutions of a society. There are two types of families, extended family and nuclear family. The family plays an important role in  socialization. Children learns a lot of things from their families. They  learn what to do and what not to do from their immediate family members. They learn about their culture from their families. However, family is not the only means of socialization, children learn quite a lot from schools as well.

Family also has role in reproduction. In our society, family is considered as the only legitimitate system for having children. Children born outside of marriage are often heaped with ridicule and displeasure. Family also has some economic functions as well. Families in the past were economically more independent than families today. Extended families in the past worked more like a corporation. In the modern industrial societies other institutions perform a larger economic function but family still operates as an economic unit.

The sense of identity and social status is another aspect of family. The scribed status of an individual is transferred from the family to the individual. Modern functionalists believe in a different theory, status should be a measure of an individual not his family. One of the most important role of a family is to provide emotional security and support to its members. While the role of family in other functions are diminishing fast, family is still the primary source of emotional security in the present nuclear families.

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