Functionalism and the Family

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  • Created on: 05-01-16 09:09
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  • Functionalism & the family
    • Murdock
      • Studied over 250 cultures and found that the Traditional Nuclear Family was the most common and functional
        • The traditional nuclear family contains a segregated conjugal relationship between a man and a woman, they must be monogamous and share a house and must have biological children
        • Gough studied the Nayar Tribe, South India. Found that women had up to 12 sexual partners (polygamy) and children were raised by their uncls
        • Sheeran says female carer core is the most common family type. Whether the family is lone-mother or lesbian there's always a female carer at the heart of it
        • Kibbutz a communal culture in which children were raised by professional parents known as metapelets
      • TNF has four roles: stable satisfaction of the sex drive, a reproductive function, an economic function and a socialisation function, each of these roles benefits both society and the individual
    • Parsons
      • looks at how the family structure naturally evolved to suit society’s needs.
        • In pre-modernity status was ascribed, there were no schools or healthcare or welfare state so the family had to teach the individual their trade and look after sick/disabled/ unemployed members of the family. For this reason the Classic Extended Family was the most common family type
          • But they had two irreducible functions
            • The stabilisation of adult personalities (the sexual division in which men have an instrumental role as the breadwinner and women have an expressive warm nurturing role that relieves tension the man faces.)
        • In modernity the Structurally Isolated Family became the norm because it allowed for a geographically mobile workforce, allowed meritocracy to occur without conflict and because of the introduction of the welfare state the process of structural differentiation occurred.
          • The CEF ost its functions as their roles had been taken over by specialist intuitions such as the NHS or the education system
      • Laslett  found that 10% of premodernity households were classic extended families because of the low life expectancy, grandparents didn’t live long enough to meet their grandchild.
      • Anderson found there was no welfare state at the beginning of modernity so the CEF was still required to perform its functions
      • Charles looked the family structure of Bangladeshi-English families and found that there were a lot of classic extended families in post modernity
      • Chamberlain studied British Caribbean families and found that while they were geographically isolated they still relied emotionally on their extended kin
      • Fletcher believes that the family has more functions because they're now child-centred because of the low infant mortality rate and emotional investment in  children and the introduction of social services.
        • Feminists found an increase in family functions as women have a dual burden- having to balance paid labour with domestic work


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