Assess the view that the family is losing some of its traditional functions? (24)

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  • Assess the view that the family is losing some of its traditional functions (24)
    • Traditional: Unit of Production
      • Where your ascribed status would come from your family's role in society so you would continue your father's work,
      • Modern: Unit of Consumption,
        • Parsons- Argues this emerged after industrialisation which meant roles were now achieved,
        • Parsons: Argues the change was due to movement from the extended family to the nuclear
          • It allows the nuclear family to function to allow for social mobility without potential family conflict.
        • Liberal Feminists: Argue women now contribute as they can now work due to more equality between the sexes,
        • Evaluation: radical feminists: Would suggest gender scripts pressure women into the expressive role- Therefore, Unit of Consumption unchanged for women,
          • Hetherington found that women are x30 more likely to have been the last to have done the washing up,
    • Traditional: Reproduction and nurturing of children
      • Modern: Reproduction and nurturing of children
        • Still a family function today but due to changes in family diversity and attitudes, it has led to a more child-centred society,
        • Decrease in birth rates from 2.85 children in 1960s to 1.74 children in 2004,
        • Due to the changing position of women, they are delaying having children until around 29-30 as there is less stigmatisation
        • Children no longer allowed to work and need to attend compulsory education which makes them economically dependent on their parents for longer,
        • Feminists: Argue this function change shows the changing attitudes of women from housewives and mothers to working in society and overcoming patriarchal oppression,
        • Evaluation: Marxists- Reproduction has always been the main function of the ruling class- Gives them an heir to inherit their private property
          • Engles adds women are seen as "mere instruments for child labour" due to the rise of the patriarchal monogamous nuclear family,
      • Provided society with the next generation of workers
    • Traditional: Primary and Secondary Socialisation (performed solely by family)
      • Modern: Primary Socialisation by family, Secondary Socialisation by professional organisations and media
        • Integrates children into society's shared norms and values. This social control functions helps create consensus and order,
        • Secondary Socialisation- Performed by schools through the Hidden Curriculum and the media
        • Functionalists and the New Right: Argue the nuclear family is the biologically ideal and natural family for the primary socialisation of children,
        • Evaluation: Due to changes in family size and sexual relations, children aren't always primarily socialised in the Nuclear family e.g. the arise of lone parent families,
          • New Right: Murray- Argue lone parent families create an underclass dependent on welfare benefits and cannot socialise children,
            • Leads to educational failure and an increase in male crime due to lack of a male authority figure due to 'men-deserts'
          • Evaluation: Feminists- lone parent households socialise children better than in an instable argumentative nuclear family household + shows women escape of oppression,
      • Integrates children into society's shared norms and values. This social control functions helps create consensus and order,
    • Traditional: Maintaining health and well being of family,
      • Feminists: Women were oppressed and stereotyped as the carer through gender scripts- women felt pressured to meet the views of society,
    • Traditional: Extended family
      • Modern: Privatised  Nuclear family
        • Murdock: Argues the nuclear family is universal and ideally suited to performing its new functions
          • Stable satisfaction of the sex drive,
          • Reproduction
          • Primary Socialisation
          • Economic needs
          • Therefore, less reliance on kin
        • Evaluation: Willmott and Young argue industrialisation strengthened the extended family's if offered financial, emotional and practical support,
          • Anderson's theory that the benefits outweigh the cost.


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