Functionalism and the Family

  • Created by: BWards18
  • Created on: 14-06-17 18:32
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  • Functionalist View of the Family
    • Core Concepts
      • Functionalists believe that the family plays a role in the maintenance of the social system
      • Consensus
      • Macro Approach
      • Organic Analogy - representing how all institutions are interdependent on each other
        • Brain - Political System
        • Lungs - Education System
        • Heart - Economy
        • Liver - Pollice/Law Enforcement
        • Private Parts - The Family
    • Murdock
      • Nuclear Family is best at performing the following functions and is essential in all 250 societies he studied
      • Sexual and Reproduction - Nuclear Family provides the best opportunity for socially controlled expression of sex drive'
      • Socialisation - Clear, Identifiable roles
      • Economic - 'units of production and consumption'- contributing to the circular flow of income
    • Bell and Vogel
      • Highlights the dysfunctional aspects of the nuclear family
      • Children are scape-goats - parents come home and take out their stress on the children
      • Seen as good as it creates calmness at work making the parents more productive at work
    • Parsons
      • Believes the family performs two functions - Primary Socialisation and Stabilisation of Adult Personalities
      • They also have traditional views on gender roles
        • Men perform an instrumental role - 'Breadwinner'
        • Women play an expressive role - 'Emotion Work'
      • There fore stating that a women's job was to relieve men's stress from the alienation of capitalism - 'Warm Bath Theory'
      • 'Loss of Functions Thesis' - Pre-Industrail families lived in extended families so performed many functions/roles
        • After Industrialisation - Families had to be mobile so became nuclear families leading to a loss of functions as specialisation/differentiation toke place
    • Criticisms
      • Functionalists overplay the harmonious nature of the family
      • OAKLEY - Disagrees with Parsons notion of expressive and instrumental roles
      • DOBASH and DOBASH - Violent husbands and wife battering
      • Doesn't consider the mergence of other family types


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