Hi, i was wondering if anyone could mark this answer i gave for a 12 mark question.
Discuss how far sociologists would agree that families are the main agent of socialisation.(12 marks).
Functionalists and feminists both agree that the family is the main agent of socialisation; whether or not this is a positive thing is up for debate. However, other sociologists might suggest that the family now has a reduced significance and has been overtaken by other institutions such as the media, education and government-funded schemes. On balance, family is still the main agent of socialisation.
According to functionalists Parsons and Murdock, the family is the main agent of socialisation; both sociologists describe it as one of the core functions of the family even though Parsons attempted to condense Murdocks functions he still includes socialisation being its own key component, as a result it does seem to hold some importance. Primary socialisation is needed before school, the norms and values should be learned at home and then reaffirmed through the secondary socialisation institutions. However, in recent years there has been a growth in the phenomenon of ipad babies where the media tends to be raising the children more than the families as its main agent of socialisation which are teaching the child the norms and values. For example, Coco melon. On balance the family is still the main agent of socialisation that hasn’t been completely displaced by the growth in the media.
Feminists also agree that families are the main agent of socialisation, although they do not say so in a positive manner. Feminists suggest that the family reaffirms patriarchy, for example, Duncombe and Marsden talk about the triple shift and how this is originally ingrained in women from childhood we can see this through the toys and clothes girls get given and the canonisation through the family where parents might buy a nurse costumes for young girls compared to a firefighter costume for a young boy, in turn raising them into different roles from the beginning. However, an evaluation of this is this again through the media whereas you might have films marketed towards girls such as disney princess or you might have films marketed towards boys such as Batman. Therefore, although these ideas are delivered through the family, it's ultimately the media that is reaffirming these ideas or advertising objects directed for a certain gender which the family then buys, placing the media at the root of the matter. However, this can be challenged through education.
However, sociologists might suggest that the family has reduced in significance as a main agent of socialisation as other institutions have taken over. For example, Murray suggests that lone parent families, which are on the rise, are ineffective at socialising children to combat this, the government introduced something called short-start centres which could help with the socialisation of children, although it was ultimately still the family having to participate this has however been removed now. Despite having institutions which are helping like the media, schools and short-start centres families are still the core agent in socialisation; which is evident through the research found in researches done by Parsons, Murdock etc over time.
In conclusion, families are the main agent of socialisation. This has been reiterated by multiple sociologists, even feminist sociologists who despite having the perspective of it being a negative thing agree that the family is undeniably the main core agent of socialisation and has been for a long time.