In the study of the family, the common and universal knowledge that every individual in the society possesses is related to the function of the family as a social institution. Through the course of history until the present era though, the concept of the family is continuously developing and changing.
During the early part of the 20th century, specifically the ’50s and ’60s, the concept of the family had been defined through the functionalist approach proposed by Talcott Parsons. The said theoretical perspective is mainly based on the different functions of the family as a whole as well as the role of the different members of the family. The functionalist approach can then be considered as a structured definition of the concept of the family. He defined the different functions of the family in the society such as the development of the children in terms of socialization and the stabilization of the adult personality. Parsons’ view specifically presented the family as an independent unit. The father as the one who defined the occupational role in the family and the stratification of the family based on gender were included in the said theoretical perspective (Unit B Introduction, p.58).
The functionalist approach can be considered as a classical view on the concept of the family. This can be attributed to the fact that during the said era the family was more structured and there were strict cultural norms related to the roles within the family and in the society.
As the needs of the people and the society changes, the theoretical perspective .regarding the family also develops. . In the ’80s then, the rise of the feminism also affected the concept of the family. . The feminist approach can be considered as a sensitive view due to the related issues in the society but there are common points in the different theories under the said perspective. The first point of the definition is related to the oppression of the female members of the society, specifically the women in the family.