In this essay I will be critically evaluating the contributions of social theory in the understanding of society. By doing this, I will be examining positive and negative effects of factors in society under the field of families and identity. This will include theory supported by main schools of thought; such as Functionalism, and conflicting theorists such as Marxism and Feminism to help critically examine the depth in which their concepts suit everyday life. All three of the selected thinkers include conflicted identity, disruptive family structure and disorderly cases of childhood. .
The family unit has been a socially constructed factor of society for a long period of time, vastly changing throughout generations; which has been noticed by all schools of thought founded in Sociology. Followed by the traditional idea of the 'American Dream', the 'ideal' way to live became to be the nuclear family. Functionalism directly supports this traditionalist approach, including heterosexual marriage and specific gender roles within the household, including instrumental roles for men and expressive roles for women. Murdock (1949) presented the family structure as culturally universal, with four key elements all tending to requirements in which individuals need to survive in society. Functionalism gives a rose-tinted perspective on the family, as with views such as the 'warm bath theory', it creates a perfect picture of monogamous, love-filled relationships and reproduction, creating a cycle in which forms society. However, this view can be criticised due to a growing age of family diversity, and abuse within relationships. .
In today's modernised society, there has been much debate as to the superiority of the nuclear family, as opposed to the early 20th century. This could be due to an increasingly high divorce rate, currently standing at one in every three marriages in the UK.