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What is a household?

A group of people living together, they don't have to have kinship ties.


What is a family?

A group of people who live together, who are related/are kinship.


What is a nuclear family?

2 generations living together.


What is a traditional extended family?

3+ generations living together.


What is an attenuated extended family?

Nuclear family that don't live together, but they keep in regular contact.


What is a lone-parent family?

A single parent and dependent child(ren).


What is a reconstituted family?

Step-families brought together from previous families.


What is a same-sex family?

2 parents/people of the same sex living together with children.


What different perspectives on the family are there?

1. Functionalist.

2. Marxist.

3. Feminist.

4. Personal life.


What do functionalists say the function of the family is?

1. To meed the needs of the sub-systems.

2. Performs positive functions both for wider society and all it's members.


Who are the 2 main functionalists?

1. Murdoch - 1949.

2. Parsons - 1955.


What does Murdoch say the family does for society?

1. Stable satisfaction of the sex drive =

controls the sexual relationships of it's members.

2. Reproduction of the next generation =

provides new members of society.

3. Socialisation of the young =

primary socialisation of children, they fit into societies shared norms and values.

4. Meets it's members economic needs =

provides resources and shelter for all it's members.


What criticisms are there for Murdoch?

1. Marxists =

it only meets the needs of capitalism, not all it's members.

2. Feminists =

family meets the needs of men, and oppresses women.

3 Both Marxism and feminism =

functionalists neglect conflict and exploitation in society.


What did Parsons propose?

Functional fit =

the structure and purpose of a type of family 'fits' the society in which it is found.


What is an example of the functional fit that Parsons uses?

- Pre-industrialisation =

extended families met the agricultural needs of society.

- Industrialisation =

the new society had different needs, the nuclear family met theses needs.


What are the needs of the industrial society?

1. A geographically mobile workforce.

2. A socially mobile workforce.


How are nuclear families more geographically mobile?

Nuclear families are easier to move in order to find jobs, they have to move to get work.


How are nuclear families more socially mobile?

- Pre-industrialisation =

rewarded the oldest male the highest status (ascribed).

- Industrialisation =

rewarded skills with the highest status (achieved), so the nuclear family avoids the conflict of the males.


How has industrialisation replaced the functions that the family performs?

1). Extended families performed many functions (education, nursing, etc), but industrialisation built institutions to do this.

So, the nuclear family only performs 2 main functions;

- Primary socialisation = equip the next generation with skills and value consensus.

- Stabilisation of adult personalities = return from work to relax, allows more efficient workforce.


What are the criticisms of Parsons?

1. He overlooks negative aspects of the family (domestic violence).

2. The extended family may not have been dominant in pre-industrial society.


How are the proletariat exploited by the bourgeoisie?

- Bourgeoisie =

own the means of production (land, factories, etc).

- Proletariat =

own their labour, but sell it to the bourgeoisie for wages --> capitalists can exploit them in order to gain a profit.


What do Marxists say the function of the family is?

It's an oppressive system that performs several important functions for capitalism.


Contrast the Marxist perspective with functionalists?

Both are structural views;

- Functionalists = family maintains the social system, whilst socialising the young.

- Marxists = family maintains societies exploitation, whilst legitimising inequality.


Who are the 3 main Marxists?

1. Engels.

2. Zaretsky.

3. Poulantzas.


What does Engels say the purpose of the family is?

Inheritance of property =

family developed so men could be certain that they would have children to pass their wealth onto.

- Also meant mean had full control over women's sexuality.


How does Zaretsky say the family legitimises inequality?

Family allows people to be 'themselves', distracting their attention from exploitation.


How does Poulantzas describe the family as part of the ISA?

Family is controlled by the bourgeoisie and used to create values, attitudes and beliefs which support the capitalist system and the position of the ruling-class.


How is the family a unit of consumption?

Capitalism needs consumers to buy its products. The family is an important market which are subjected to adverts, promoting consumerism, gaining a profit for capitalists.


How does David Cooper support Poulantzas?

Sees the family as an 'ideological conditioning device' =

children learn to conform to authority so they will become cooperative and easily exploited workers.


What are the criticisms of Marxism?

1. They assume the nuclear family is dominant in society --> ignores other forms of the family.

2. Some families are anti-capitalist and socialise their children into the beliefs which are critical of capitalism.