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Flashcards in theories of the family Deck (31)
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believe nuclear families are the best and function properly with the best outcome


Murdocks family functions

family as a key building block for the rest of society
4 essential functions for society
- stable satisfaction of the sex drive
- reproduction of the next generation
- socialisation of the young
- meeting its members economic needs


stable satisfaction go the sex drive

doesn't interfere with other couples
reduces problems


reproduction of the next generation

allows the race to continue
produces the next workforce


socialisation of the young

makes it easier for schools and education


meeting the family members economic needs

providing money to pay for the familys needs e.g food clothing rent


criticisms of functionalism

- other institution s can provide this
- can be carried put in a non nuclear 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 the family members or society as a whole


functionalism - Parsons Functional Fit theory

argues that the extended family fits in with a pre-industrial society
however, industrial society required a new family type to perform functions effectively - the nuclear family
the nuclear family fits best because industrial society has 2 very specific needs
- a geographically mobile workforce
- a socially mobile workforce


ascribed status

fixed status in terms of social class (born WC; stay WC)


evidence against Parsons

Young and Willmott (1973) + Laslette (1972)
suggested that the nuclear family was the most common before the industrilisation


geographically mobile workforce

being able to move country/ area for work with ease


socially mobile workforce

ability to move between the social classes e.g WC to MC


pre-industrial society family dynamic

extended family
3 generations living under the same roof
grandparents generally act as childcare while parents work
mostly primary sector employment e.g farming


industrial society family dynamic

nuclear family
parents and their dependant children
more factory jobs secondary employment


loss of functions

with industrialisation, Parsons argues that the family loses many functions its previously performed as an extended family
for example it loses its unit of production
instead it now performs two essential functions
- primary socialisation of children
- the stabilisation of adults personalities


primary socialisation of children

the main socialisation of the children before the go to school or into the world


the stabilisation of adults personalities

adults go home when they finish work and they release tension and relax


liberal feminists

oppressions is being gradually overcome
suggest peoples attitudes are slowly changing because of changes in the law like the Sex discrimination act of (1975) that outlaws sex discrimination in employment
the believe full equality will depend on further reforms and changes in attitudes and socialisation patterns of both sexes but they argue progress is being made


feminist evaluation of liberal feminists

marxists and radical feminists believe that large changes to deep routed structures are needed
they fail to challenge underlying causes of womens oppression and are criticised for believing changes in law/ attitudes is enough


external evaluation liberal feminists

arguably ethnocentric view only apply to white MC


marxist feminists

main cause of womens oppression is capitalism
women reproduce the labour force through unpaid domestic labour and socialising the next generation of workers
women absorb anger that would otherwise be directed towards capitalism
women are a reserve army of cheap labour that can be taken if needed


internal evaluation of marxist feminists

liberal and difference feminists would argue that they ignore the fact that progress has been made and family life for some today is better than it was


external evaluation of marxist feminists

places lots of emphasis on nuclear families ignoring family diversity like functionalists
assumes to a degree that women are passive and don't actively choose their social role as a wife and mother


radical feminists

society has been founded on patriarchy
men are the enemy and the source of womens oppression and exploitation
the family and marriage are the key institutions in patriarchal society
men benefit from the unpaid labour and sexual services provided by women


internal evaluation of radical feminists

liberal feminists suggest they fail to recognise that omens portion in society has significantly improved
better access to divorce and job opportunities
access to contraception/ reproductive rights
ability to choose whether they want to co-habit


external evaluation of radical feminists

marxists suggest that radical feminists fail to blame capitalism for patriarchy in society rather than men


difference feminists

cannot generalise all womens experiences - many different women experience the family differently depending mainly on race, social class and sexual orientation
for example - white women who view the family negatively forget that for many black women, the family can be a support network against racism experienced outside of the home


internal evaluation of difference feminists

ignore the fact that all women share many of the same experiences regardless of their race, social class and sexual orientation
e.g they can all be victims of sexual assault and domestic violence


external evaluation of difference feminists

functionalists may say that they ignore the key functions that family members play for women in the family e.g stabilisation of adult personalities


marxist theory

see society as based on conflict
this conflict is based on class and is between those who have power and those who don't
its the MC - bourgeoisie against the WC - proletariat
the conflict is due to the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie