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Social Work - Family - Essay Example

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As social beings, we live in a myriad of different, albeit interconnected systems. On one level, there is the larger social system, within which is the communal system, the school/organizational system and, on a more intimate level, the friend system and the extended and nuclear family systems…
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Download file to see previous pages The acculturation process which we all have experienced, and probably continue to, introduces us to the rules and protocols particular to each of these systems. The fact that we learn them and are able to successfully negotiate our way from one system to the other, and form healthy relations in each, is evidenced by the fact that our home behaviour is markedly different from our school behaviour. Our socialisation into each of these systems and the process of acculturation we experienced therein have effectively taught us to change our behaviour and method of communication in accordance with the system within which we are operating at any point in time. The fact is, however, that systems are not stable but ever-evolving and changing. Accordingly, and as shall be illustrated through reference to the family system, it is often contingent upon each and every one of us to adjust ourselves to the changes within the system, so as to attain equilibrium once again.
The family system is not only the first into which we are embraced as valued members but is the system which introduces us to all others. The implication here is that it is both the founding system and the most enduring one. It is enduring in that the greater majority of us remain members of the family system throughout our lives. This is not the case with the community system, for example, or even the religious system as affiliations change. The family system, however, is stable and only through dramatic circumstances does our membership terminate, as in through the deaths of the other members of the nuclear family. In other words, while the family system is both enduring and our membership in it stable, that does not mean to imply that it is static. As with all systems, it continually changes and evolves. In order to better explain the implications of the aforementioned, it is necessary to explore the meaning of system stability, change and equilibrium.
The stability of a system can have a significant effect on how readily it engages in change. Systems are most stable when they experience being in equilibrium with their environments. In this context, equilibrium is defined as a system receiving the resources it needs from its environment in exchange for what is produced by the system. Prigogine and Stengers described this condition as "the stable, predictable behavior of systems tending toward the minimum level of activity compatible with the fluxes that feed them" (1984, p. 139). The exchange process flows smoothly and the system does not experience tension arising from the exchange. Occasional fluctuations in this exchange process are not assumed by the system to be a basic change in a stable relationship with the environment. More significant fluctuations may cause some concerns about the relationship. Prigogine and Stengers referred to this condition as near-equilibrium. The situation is still rather stable but, from this exchange process, a degree of tension is introduced into the system. The focus of the system is on maintaining stability rather than seeking change.
The above stated can be related and applied to personal experiences within the family system. As a member of that system, I am fully aware of the way in which it functions and my relationship with each member within is determined by the status if that person within this system. For example, my relationship w ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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