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Flashcards in Perspectives of the Family Deck (16):

Perspectives to include about the family

1. Functionalists
2. Marxists
4. Feminists
5. The New Right
6. Radical Psychiatry


What is the Functionalist perspective of the family?

Murdock: Four Universal residual functions of the family:
- Sexual
- Economic
- Education (socialisation)
- Reproductive
- Warm bath
- Socialisation of children
- Stabilization of adult personalities


Critique of the Functionalist view

- Over-romanticised view
- Idealises the family
- Ignores conflict and abuse
- Ignores gender inequality
- Ignores rising divorce rates
- Ignores growing diversity
- Radical psych; ignores abuse
- Feminists: Supports patriarchy


Marxist views of the family

- Socialises children to be obedient workers
- Women's labour unpaid - supports capitalism
- Family is a safety valve for the stresses and frustrations of working class men to ensure they stay economically productive
- Engels: evolutionary view, said about primitive communism and ear of sexual freedom and promiscuity; 'Golden Age', argues that the nuclear family is to protect property
- Zaretsky: the family helps to perpetuate capitalism, capitalism is also "propped up" by domestic labour of housewives,
- The family is closely linked to the economy


Criticisms of the Marxist View

- Engels - 1884 - out of date?
- Evidence that Engel's theory is not true
- The primitive communism theory is very 'Golden Age'
- Anthropologists have suggested that the emergence of the nuclear family didn't actually coincide with the emergence of capitalism
- Ignores family diversity


What does POMO say about families?

- Diversity
- Consumer choice
- Postmodernists see changes as simply reflecting individuals making their consumer choices


What are the 3 different Feminist perspectives?

1. Liberal
2. Radical
3. Marxist


Radical Feminist view of the family

- Focus on the patriarchy
- Greer: the nuclear family is a bad environment for women and raising children and that girls are socialised to be feminine from childhood by being taught rules that suppress them. She also argues that many relationships between men and women in all spheres of life are highly patriarchal and exploitative
- The believe that children should just be the woman's responsibility
- They think women are superior and that men aren't necessary
- Their solution is basically to reject the family and family life and to reject relationships with men altogether


Marxist Feminist view of the family

- The capitalist system and the roles of women within the system is the main source of female oppression
- Marxist and socialist feminists argue that capitalism rather than patriarchy is in several aspects the main reason for female oppression
- Men do benefit from women's unpaid labour as housewives and mothers, but the capitalist system benefits the most
-Women also provide many services at relatively low cost for their male partners which means that male workers will accept lower wages partly because they know that their female partners will cook and keep the house for them for limited payment
- Women are seen as a "reserve army of labour"
- Veronica Beechey: Women are more suited than men to form part of the reserve army of Labour and this helps to explain the disadvantages employment situation of some women


Criticisms of Marxist and Radical Feminist Perspectives

- Radical feminists have a very negative view of men
- Women's roles are not the same in all families
- Women are not passive victims
- More women are working and have independent incomes so more power in the family
- 70% of Divorces are initiated by women, showing they aren't stuck in exploitative relationships
- Marxists: Families are less likely to create obedient workforces how as children have more power and status in families
- Hakim suggests that women's inequality in the family may be the result of women's personal choices and preferences; some choose to be housewives and mothers


Liberal Feminist's view of the family

- Nobody benefits from gender inequalities - they inhibit meritocracy
- They argue that although some relationships between males and females may be unsatisfactory and in some cases violent, others can be fulfilling
- Friedman: completed a study and found that many college and/or university educated middle class American wives felt empty, hollow and unfulfilled by their domestic lives. The lack of fulfillment helped to create tensions within the family with adverse consequences for both the husbands and the children. She believed the solution was reform of the female education system and improved female career opportunities.
- They think things should be improved through reforms such as changing socialisation and parenting practices,establishing and asserting the legal rights of women as individuals, the establishment of equality in maternity and paternity leave, better and cheaper childcare, more sharing of housework and childcare tasks with men and stronger action against domestic violence


Criticisms of Liberal Feminist's view of the family

- They do not tackle the fundamental inequalities that women face as a result of patriarchy and capitalism - points made by radical and Marxist feminists


The New Right's view of the family

- Traditional views
- Similar to functionalist views
- Nuclear family is important for socialisation
- All changes are bad, they see the traditional family as under threat
- They argue that changes undermine social stability
- Single Parent Families lead to crime
- Murray: Underclass, SPFS, dependency culture


Criticisms of the New Right's perspective of the family

- Over-romantic view of the family
- Ignores abuse etc. within the family
- Patriarchal view
- Marxists: supports capitalism


Radical Psychiatry's view of the family

- Families value obedience - produces authoritarian personalities
- Leach: families are a negative force in industrial society, they are isolated from kin and the community and lead to stress
- Laing: The politics of the family, the family is seen as destructive and exploitative, there is a family battle for acceptance, respect, concern, attention and there are "gangsters" offering mutual protection from each other's violence


Criticisms of radical psychiatry

- Laing's research is restricted to the families of schizophrenics
- Both ignore social factors such as class and ethnicity
- Lacks historical perspective
- Both have been characterised as extreme views