Functionalism

A mind map on Functionalist views of the Family. The green boxes indicate Functionalist theory and the blue/white boxes indicate evaluation points.

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  • Created by: Molly
  • Created on: 06-05-14 11:09
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  • Functionalists
    • G. P. Murdock (1949)
      • 4 Vital Functions = Reproduction, Regulation of Sex, Economic, Socialisation into culture.
        • Wrote before Feminist movement: ANN OAKLEY (1974) Murdock ignored families with different gender roles.
          • Divisionof labour is socially constructed  and it is possible to change them.
    • Talcott Parsons
      • Focused on 'modern isolated' family in USA
        • Before industrial revolution = extended family, care with grandparents. After= small nuclear unit family move around to find work and different roles divided by gender.
          • Feminists criticise Parsons idea as there is no reason why the male and female cannot share both roles between them.
      • 1955 Parsons and Bale: 2 'irreducible functions' = Socialisation into culture and Stabilisation of adult personalities
        • Children socialised into correct gender roles. Expressive(female) and Instrumental (male)
          • Female role is instrumental as domestic chores can be practical and many men have caring job roles which are expressive e.g. doctors.
    • Ronald Fletcher
      • (1966) mariage is becoming a relationship of affection and companion-ship apart from having children
        • Spend years after child rearing together, for companionship, where this fail they remarry soon afterwards
          • 'March of Progress Theory' : family were stronger than past as women married for money & unable to escape. A family now fulfils an arrangement of choice.
          • Family has become too privatised. Care little about macro society = enjoying 'Warm Bath' intimate life.
            • Need for a universal 'new family of man' = cooperation w/ others & satisfy own needs
        • Parsons 'Stabilisation of Adult Personalities'
      • Fletcher wrote before 'The Divorce Reform Act' 1969 = underestimated disruption of easier divorce
      • Functionalist: Integrating children to benefit all Marxist: Privatised family take little interest in social problems
    • Weeks, Donavon, Heaphy (1999)
      • Gay Households were more flexible w/ job roles than neo-conventional fams.
        • Share roles more equally between the two as experiment w/ untraditional arrangement.
      • Not deliberately functionalist, but provides update on role sharing and proves roles are still carried out but in unconventional ways.
    • Dysfunctional Family
      • Green, Vogel, Bell, Laing = 'pressure cooker' of family life can mentally damage members
        • Edmund Leach (1967) parents in conflict + children rebelling = narrow privacy + secrets = source of discontentment.
      • Rebecca + Russell DobashWidespread Domestic Violence abuse
      • Marxist David Cooper: parents insistence on obedience creates docile proletariat.
  • (1966) mariage is becoming a relationship of affection and companion-ship apart from having children
    • Spend years after child rearing together, for companionship, where this fail they remarry soon afterwards
      • 'March of Progress Theory' : family were stronger than past as women married for money & unable to escape. A family now fulfils an arrangement of choice.
      • Family has become too privatised. Care little about macro society = enjoying 'Warm Bath' intimate life.
        • Need for a universal 'new family of man' = cooperation w/ others & satisfy own needs
    • Parsons 'Stabilisation of Adult Personalities'
  • Green, Vogel, Bell, Laing = 'pressure cooker' of family life can mentally damage members
    • Edmund Leach (1967) parents in conflict + children rebelling = narrow privacy + secrets = source of discontentment.

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