Functionalist Theories of the Family

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  • Created by: Ben
  • Created on: 12-05-13 17:22
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  • Functionalist theories of the family
    • The functionalist perspective
      • Every institution in society performs its own functions.
      • Society as a well oiled machiene
      • Positives and benefits of the family towards society as a whole.
    • Murdock
      • The nuclear family as the vital universal institution of well-being for all societies.
      • Nuclear family has 4 main functions
        • Reproductive - new generation
        • Sexual - limiting to sexual monogamy
        • Economic - economic unit for survival
        • Education - socialization of children.
    • Parsons - functions of the family
      • Primary socialization -first stage of socialization that educates children about the norms and values of society.
      • Stabilization of adult personalities - isolated nuclear family don't get much help from extended kinship. Compete with husband stresses of everyday work - warm bath theory.
    • Parsons - changing family structure
      • In pre-industrial societies extended families were norm. Now it is isolated nuclear families.
      • Nuclear families are now necessary due to the need for both a geographically and socially mobile workforce.
    • Parsons - changing functions of the family
      • Healthcare and support for the family used to be the responsibility of the family, but now the welfare state has taken over much of the responsibility.
    • Criticisms of functionalism
      • Overly optimistic view on family life.
      • Some societies don't have traditional families
      • Ignores dark side to family - Femenist
      • There may be viable alternatives - Postmodernists.

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