Functons of the Family

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  • Functions of the Family
    • Functionalists
      • As society  develops functios become more specialised. Believe the family has moved towards the isolated nuclear family to cope with geographical mobility in the industrial society.
      • This view identifies and explains the positive benefits of family life. Over-optimistic, ignoring the 'dark side of the family'
        • PARSONS- NFamily is best for society. (Geographical).  Status is 'achieved' not 'ascribed'.
          • 'Structural Differential' - Lost some functions to welfare. Now 2 basic functions: Stabilisation of Adult Personalities + Primary Socialisation. (Expressive & Instrumental).
      • The family meets  functions prerequisites: Reproduction, Economic, Education and Sexual needs.
        • MURDOCK - studied 250 societies. Nuclear family is universal as its the best way of adjusting to societies needs.
      • Traditional gender roles continued and are functional for society.
        • CHAPMAN - the family is an important part of gender socialisation. Girls copy parents attitudes/skills to perform their roles as wives.
    • Feminist
      • The family is a 'Patriarchal Institution' maintaining male power. Patriarchal Dominance continues e.g. Gender socialisation - kids are taught ideas supporting male power.
      • LIBERAL- Accept there is movement towards gender equality. RADICAL - Patriarchal NF dominates.
    • Marxist
      • The NF is still dominate. Acting as a increasing role in consumption.
        • SCLATER- Goods&Services provided by the economy is mainly consumed by the family.
      • This view analyses how economic inequalities might shape family life, but too much emphasis on economic factors. Ignores gender inequality and positive benefits of the family.
      • The family acts as an 'Ideological State Apparatus' legitimizing the capitalism system.


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