Theories of the family part 2

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  • Theories of the family pt 2
    • Feminist perspective
      • like Marxists, feminists take a critical view of the family. they argue it oppresses women. gender inequality= social construct, not natural
        • concerned with campaigning against sex discrimination and for equal rights and opportunities for women.
        • they argue that women's oppression is being gradually overcome through changing people attitudes and changes in the law e.g. the Sex Discrimination Act (1975) which outlaws discrimination
        • hold a 'march of progress view' like young and willmott- they see gradual progress.
          • studies show men are more involved in domestic labour and parents socialise kids more equally.
          • other feminists would criticise liberal feminists for failing to challange the underlying causes of womens opression and for believing that changes in the law or in people's attitudes will be enough to bring equality.
        • marxist feminists argue that the main cause of women's opression in the family is not men, but capitalism.
          • women's opression performs several functions for capitalism
            • women reproduce the labour force
            • women absorb anger- Fran Ansley (1972) describes wives as 'takers of ****'
            • women are a a reserve army of cheap labour that can be disposed of when no longer needed.
            • oppression of women in the family is linked to the exploitation of the working class. They argue the family must be abolished at the same time as a socialist revolution replaces capitalism with a classless society.
      • Radical Feminism
        • society is founded on patriarchy.
        • the family and marriage are key institutions in patriarchal society. Men benefit from women's unpaid domestic labour and from their sexual services, and they dominate women through domestic violence.
        • men are the enemy- they are the source of women's oppression and exploitation.
        • abolition of patriarchy can only be achieved through sepratism
          • Germaine Greer (2000) argues for the creation of all female or 'martilocal' households as an alternative for heterosexual family
        • criticised by lib. feminists  for ignoring the improvement of women position. (Jenny Servile (2000))
      • Difference Feminism
        • argu we cannot generealise about womens experiences.
          • lesiban and heterosexual women, white and black women, middle-clss and working-class owmen, all have different experiencees of the family from one another
            • e.g. by regarding the family as universally negative, white feminists omit the view of black feminists that the family is a source of support from racism.
    • Personal Life Perspective.
      • bottom- up approach- interactionist
      • family is not based on just blood and marriage.
        • relationships with friends, fictive kin, gay and lesbian chosen families, relationships with dead relatives, relationships with pets ARE ALL ABLE TO BE CONSIDERED FAMILY.
        • Carol Smart (2014) donor- conceived children "what counts as family when your child shares a genetic link with a relative stranger but not your partner"?
      • Evaluation
        • Smarts study illustrates the value of the personal life perspective as compared with 'top- down' structural approaches.
        • can be accused of taking too broad a view. criticcs argue that by including a wide range of different kinds of personal relationships, we ignore what is special about reltionships based on blood or mrriage.


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