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Flashcards in Theories Of The Family Deck (36)
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Define the term 'value consensus'.

A shared set of norms and values.


According to Murdock, what are the four essential functions performed by the family?

- Reproduction of the next generation: without which society wouldn't continue.

- Stable satisfaction of the sex drive: with the same partner, preventing the social disruption caused by a sexual 'free-for-all'.

- Socialisation of the young: into society's shared norms and values.

- Meeting its members' economic needs: such as food and shelter.


Give two criticisms of Murdock's functionalist view of the family.

- Feminists see the family as serving the needs of men and oppressing women.

- Marxists argue that it meets the needs of capitalism, not those of family members or society as a whole.


Define the nuclear family.

A two-generation family of a man and women and their dependent children, own or adopted.


Define the extended family.

Three generations living under one roof.


According to Parsons, industrial society needs a geographically and socially mobile workforce. Explain why this is the case.

Geographically mobile:
- In modern society, industries constantly spring up and decline in different parts of the country, even different parts of the world and this requires people to move to where the jobs are.

Socially mobile:
- Modern industrial society is based on constantly evolving science and technology and so it requires a skilled, technically competent workforce.
- An individual's status is achieved by their own efforts and ability not ascribed making social mobility possible.


Explain how the nuclear family meets the two needs of industrial society.

- Easier for the nuclear family to move.

- Better fitted to the need that industrial society has for a geographically mobile workforce.


What two essential or 'irreducible' functions does Parsons suggest that the nuclear family now performs?

The primary socialisation of children:
- To equip them with basic skills and society's values, to enable them to cooperate with others and begin to integrate them into society.

The stabilisation of adult personalities:
- The family is a place where adults can relax and release tensions, enabling them to return to the workplace refreshed and ready to meet its demands.
- This is functional for the efficiency of the economy.


Define the two social classes identified by Marxists.

- The capitalist class who own the means of production.

- The working class whose labour the capitalists exploit for profit.


According to Marxists, who or what does the family benefit?

The capitalist system/society.


Why did Marx claim there was no family in primitive communism?



According to Engels, why is monogamy essential in class society?

The inheritance of private property:
- Men had to be certain of the paternity of their children in order to ensure that their legitimate heirs inherited from them.


According to Engels, what did the rise of the monogamous nuclear family mean for women?

It represented a 'world historical defeat of the female sex'. This was because it brought the woman's sexuality under male control and turned her into a 'mere instrument for the production of children'.


According to Marxists, why will the overthrow of capitalism mean the end of the patriarchal nuclear family?

There'll be no need for the patriarchal family, since there'll be no need to have a means of transmitting private property down the generations.


What is the Marxist definition of ideology?

A set of ideas or beliefs that justify inequality and maintain the capitalist system by persuading people to accept it as fair, natural or unchangeable.


Explain two ideological functions of the family.

- Socialising children into the idea that hierarchy and inequality are inevitable.

- According to Zaretsky, the family also offers an apparent 'haven' from the harsh and exploitive world of capitalism outside in which workers can be 'themselves' and have a private life.


Identify three ways in which the family is an important market for consumer goods.

- Advertisers urge families to 'keep up with the Joneses' by consuming all the latest products.

- The media target children, who use 'pester power' to persuade parents to spend more.

- Children who lack the latest clothing or 'must have' gadgets are mocked and stigmatised by their peers.


State three criticisms of the Marxist perspective.

- Marxists tend to assume that the nuclear family is dominant in capitalist society ignoring the variety of family structures today.

- Feminists: the emphasis on class and capitalism underestimates the importance of gender inequalities in families. The family serves men, not capitalism.

- Functionalists: Marxists ignore the very real benefits that the family provides for its members.


What do liberal feminists campaign for and against?

For: Equal rights and opportunities for women (e.g equal pay and an end to discrimination in employment).

Against: Sex discrimination.


In what way do liberal feminists agree with 'march of progress' theorists? What evidence do they give for this?

Some studies suggests that men are now doing more domestic labour, while the way parents now socialise their sons and daughters is more equal than in the past and they now have similar aspirations for them.


Why are liberal feminists criticised by other feminists?

Failing to challenge the underlying causes of women's oppression and for believing that changes in the law or in people's attitudes will be enough to bring equality.


According to Marxist feminists, what is the main cause of women's oppression?

Capitalism, not men.


Identify three ways in which Marxist feminists see women as being oppressed.

Women's oppression performs several functions for capitalism:
- Women reproduce the labour force.

- Women absorb anger: 'takers of shit'.

- Women are a reserve army of cheap labour.


According to Marxist feminists, how will the oppression of women be overcome?

They see the oppression of women in the family as linked to the exploitation of the w/c. They argue the family must be abolished at the same time as a socialist revolution replaces capitalism with a classless society.


According to radical feminists, what are the two features of the division between men and women in patriarchal society?

Men are the enemy:
- They're the source of women's oppression and exploitation.

The family and marriage are the key institutions: in patriarchal society.
- Men benefit from women's unpaid domestic labour and sexual services, and they dominate women through domestic and sexual violence or the threat of it.


Give two solutions that radical feminists propose to overcome women's oppression.

- Patriarchal system needs to be overturned. Particularly the family. They argue the only way to do this is through separatism (live independently from men).

- 'Political lesbianism': heterosexual relationships are inevitably oppressive. 'Sleeping with the enemy'.


Why do liberal feminists criticise radical feminists' views?

Somerville: radical feminists fail to recognise that women's position has improved considerably. Also heterosexual attraction makes separatism unlikely to work.


What is the main argument of difference feminism? Why do other feminists reject the main argument of difference feminism?

- We cannot generalise about women's experiences.
- Everyone has different experiences of the family.

- Neglects the fact that all women share many of the same experiences e.g all face risk of domestic violence and sexual assult.


Identify two features that functionalist, Marxist and feminist perspectives on the family can be said to share.

- They tend to assume that the traditional nuclear family is the dominant family type.

- They're all structural theories.


What is the main emphasis of the personal life perspective?

It emphasises the meanings that individual family members hold and how these shape their actions and relationships.