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Flashcards in Functionalist Theories Deck (17)
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What are Murdocks four functions of the family? Which family fulfils these functions?

1. Families provide a stable satisfaction of the adult sex drive (monogamous relationship preventing social disruption caused by a sexual 'free for all')
2. Reproduces the next generation
3. Socialisation of the young
4. Meets its members economic needs (food, shelter etc)

The nuclear family fulfils these functions.


What is a nuclear family?

A mixed gender married couple, living together monogamously with their own children.


In what ways is the nuclear family no longer universal?

Same sex partners, adoption, less people getting married therefore more cohabiting partners, divorce rates increasing, step families and teenage pregnancy.


What is Parsons 'Functional fit' theory?

The family will fit the needs of the society in which it is found.


What are parsons two main types of society?

1. Pre- industrial society: the extended family fitted these needs as lots of children available to work, married couples meant one could work and one could stay at home with the children of grandparents
2. Modern industrial society: nuclear family


What are the two needs on an industrial society?

1. A geographically mobile workforce - in modern society, industries are increasing and going into decline in different areas of the country and therefore people need to be able to relocate.
2. A socially mobile workforce (being able to move up the class system- it is essential for talented people to take on the most i portent jobs (even if they are from a poor background).
Most form of status are achieved through hard work , therefore social mobility is possible.


How does the nuclear family fulfil the needs of an industrial society? (2)

1. A nuclear family will be able to relocate easier than an extended one and they have less belongings and cheaper travel for less family members.
2. A nuclear family means that a son can take on the career he chooses and work hard to gain achieved status, whereas in an extended family, the father would feel the superior, and expect the son to take over his work when he was no longer able.


What is ascribed status?

Achieving high status because they have paid to attend private school or inherited money, property and a title. Nepotism- getting a job based on family connections. Not working hard to achieve good grades and a successful career.


Which functions differ between an extended family and a nuclear?

An extended family was a unit of production and consumption, whereas the nuclear family is no longer a unit of production but still a unit of consumption.


What institution has grown to encourage the family unit to be based upon consumption?

The media- advertisements for food, expensive household products, social networking devices, toys for children and general products to make bringing children up easier.


Which agencies have taken over the following family functions? (5)

1. Providing education/ socialisation of children: school, books, media, Internet, day care, private tutors..
2. Looking after people's health: NHS, availability of medication, media- encouraging healthy living, charities..
3. Looking after the elderly: care/retirement homes, pensions, cheaper cost of travel..
4. Looking after children: foster homes, school, child protection agencies and charities, after school clubs, childminders etc
5. Providing employment: media, job centres, careers service..


What are Parsons' marital roles:

1. The husband is the instrumental leader- he is responsible for economic welfare of the family
2. The wife is the expressive leader- she is responsible for the childcare, emotional needs and domestic work


What are the nuclear family's irreducible functions? (2)

1. Primary socialisation of children: to equip them with basic skills and to teach key norms and values allowing them to cooperate with others and integrate into society
2. Stabilisation of adult personalities: the home is a place for adults to relax and release tensions.his allows them to return to work refreshed and happy meaning they are more effective workers.


What is the warm bath theory?

Women create a pleasant relaxing environment for men to return to after a stressful day at work.


What is this organic analogy?

Society has needs that need to be met by certain institutions like the human body needs vital organs.
For example: teaching morals, having an educated workforce and socialising children into society's norms/ values can be met by school, family, law, religion and the media.


How would Feminists criticise the nuclear family?

Degrades women and makes them feel useless, as if all they're good for is being a wife and mother.
Children are socialised into gender roles.
Women don't get a 'warm bath' atmosphere for themselves.


How would Marxists criticise the warm bath theory?

They would say that relieving stresses to maintain a better workforce, this will delay and prevent and rebellion against the bourgeoisie.