Family- Functionalism

  • Created by: India JJ
  • Created on: 09-06-18 20:39
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  • Families- functionalism
    • Murdock- 4 irreducible functions of the family
      • Economic- pools resources together relieving state intervention
        • X recognise how family limits members by its inability to do this- restrains social mobility
      • Socialisation- passes on the norm and values of society in order to achieve a value consensus which in turn maintains social order.
        • values passed on maintain class and gender inequality
      • sexual- teaches what is appropriate and when
        • Ignores the dark side of family life- 1/4 women are domestically abused
      • Reproduction- creates the next generation of labour
      • Functionalist theories assume the perfect family is nuclear and ignores its patriarchal nature
    • parsons- 2 irreducible functions of the family
      • Socialisation- passing on the norms and values of society which contributes to a value consensus which therefore forms a collective conscience which maintains social order.
      • Stabilisation of adult personalities- encourages parents to contribute to society and to be responsible, provides an arena in which sexual behaviour can be explored safely without compromising the health or order in society.
        • Could use the example of the warm bath theory which suggests that the family acts as a safety valve where workers can relieve the tensions of a day at work
          • Zaretsky argues that this is to make them forget about their exploitation and discourage them from rebelling- they have a family relying on them
          • Both of these theories suggests the breadwinner is male
          • Argue functionalist theories are sexist as they fail to recognise that gender roles are a societal construction and that men and women are not biological tuned to instrumental or expressive roles.
    • Parsons- functional fit theory the nuclear family enabled industrialisation, families had to leave behind their extended family to meet the needs of the economy which required a mobile workforce.
      • Laslett and Anderson used censuses to research how extended families are more popular post- industrialisation
    • Wilmott and young-using questionnaires they assessed that there is no longer an unequal division of labour- in the new symmetrical family parents share tasks
      • Oakley the radical feminists said that this method is flawed as what people consider domestic tasks may vary.


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