Family- Theory

A summary of all theories to do with the family and households topic 

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  • Family- Theory
    • Functionalist
      • Family is important as its the 'basic building block of society'
      • Murdock- 4 functions of the nuclear family
        • Stable satisfaction of the sex drive
        • The biological reproduction of the next generation
        • Socialisation of the young
        • Meeting it's members economic needs
      • Parsons
        • Functional fit theory
          • As society changes, the types of family that fits and the functions it perfoms change
        • The two essential functions of the family
          • Primary socialisation
          • The stabilisation of adult personalities
    • Feminism
      • Liberal Feminism
        • Causes of inequality in relationships
          • Mainstream working culture which requires long and felixble hours, which is based on the idea of a main breadwinner
          • Men refusing to 'pull their weight' in relationships
        • Solutions to inequality in relationships
          • Greater gender equality in the public sphere- equal pay equal acsess to education
        • Somervile (2000) suggests proposals to improve family life for women that involve modest policy reforms rather then revolutionary change
      • Marxist Feminism
        • Women's oppression performs several functions for capitalism
          • Women reproduce the labour force
          • Women absorb anger
          • Women are a 'reserve army of cheap labour'
        • Ansley (1972) women absorb the anger that would otherwise be directed at capitalism
      • Radical Feminism
        • All relationships between men and women are based on patriarchy- men are the cause of women's exploitation and oppression
        • Women have acquired the 'dual burden' of paid work and unpaid housework
          • They argue further that women suffer from the tripple shift, paid work, domestic work and 'emotion work'
    • Marxism
      • The family perform the function of 'ideological control'
      • The emergence of the nuclear family
        • Engels
          • The nuclear family emerged with capitalism
      • The family as Ideological Apparatus
        • The family promote values that ensure the reproduction of capitalism
      • Family as a unit of consuption
    • Post-modernism
      • Two key  points in soceity
        • Diversity and fragmentation
          • As a  result of these social changes family life has become diverse, no longer one dominant type of family
            • Rapid social change
        • Rapid social change
      • Stacey (1998) “The Divorce-Extended Family”
        • She found a new family type, members are now connected by divorce rather than marriage
      • Hareven (1978) “Life Course Analysis”
        • Sociologists should be concerned with focus on individuals and the choices made regarding family arrangements


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