Theories of the nuclear family

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  • Theories of the Nuclear Familiy
    • Marxists
      • The nuclear family is designed to support capitalism and exists to benefit the bourgeousie. The proletait are unaware they are being exploited due to the ruling class ideology created through the family.
        • ENGELS: the N.F allows husbands to control their wives by ensuring the paternity of their sons keeping the welfare in the hands of the bourgeousie
        • ZARETSKY: The N.F produces the next generation of workers. the N.F consumes the goods of capitalism. The N.F acts as a safety valve for male frustration created at work.
        • COOPER: The family reinforces the ruling class ideology to keep the proletait in a state of false class consciousness
      • Advantages
        • 2) links the individual to society through the ruling class ideology
        • 1) Identifies dyfunctions within the family
        • 3) Identifies the benefits of family for capitalism
      • Disadvantages
        • 2) Ignores family diversity
        • 1) the N.F was around before capitalism so it cannot be designed to support it.
        • 3) Is capitalism negative on society?
    • Feminists
      • Marxists
        • Society needs to change from capitalism to communism in order to achieve true gender equality. The family and its exploitation serves the needs of capitalism. Women provide a number of free services E.g child bearing.
          • BEUSTON
            • Husbands were unable to strike as they had families to support
          • ANSLEY
            • The emotional support provided by women offers a safety valve for male frustration created by working in a capitalist society
          • WEAKNESSES
            • Do not account for the changes in womens roles since the 1970's
      • Liberal
        • Aim to gain equality with men through changes in legislation.
          • THE EQUAL PAY AND SEX DISCRIMINATION ACT
            • encouraged women to work outside of the family (70's)
          • SOMERVILLE
            • Most women dont like being without a male partner even though some of them dont live up to their responibilities
          • WEAKNESSES
            • Not produced genuine gender equality
      • Radical
        • Believe that society is PATRIARCHAL therefore women need to remove their biological dependancy on men.
          • GERMAINE GREER wanted segregation from men rather than equality
          • PURDY: womens disadvantages are childcare and childbearing - there should be a baby strike.
          • Weakness: ignores the advantages of family life
    • New right
      • The new right believe that the Nuclear family is the idea, most stable type of family. They think the N.F. is under threat due to family diversity (Lone-parent, cohabitation & homosexual families)
        • Family diversity is on the increase due to a breakdown of traditional values, over-generous welfare system benefitting single mothers and a greater tolerance to gay & lesbian marriage.
          • MURRAY: bellieves that men from fatherless families are more likely to commit crimes as they havent got a male role model.
          • Lone parents living off the welfare encourages their children to then live off benefits.
            • Weaknesses
              • valued judgements
                • The nuclear family is superior to other family types. New right dont agree with family diversity.
              • an idealised view of the past
                • Seen as the "golden family"
              • Blaming the victim
                • Many of the problems which the New Right acknowledge are those out of control such as poor wages and being a lone parent.
          • DENNIS & ERDOS: children born outside of marriage and raised by single mothers are likely to have poorer health and lower intelligence.
    • Functionalists
      • MURDOCK
        • The nuclear family is ideal and provides a number of fuctions
          • Primary socialisation
          • Sexual control
          • Economic support
          • Reproduction > next generation
          • Weaknesses
            • 2) families are the product of culture not biology
            • 1) Outdated theory
            • 3) functions will differ between religions and class
      • PARSONS
        • There is a "functional fit" between the N.F and mordern society. Overtime the family has given away functions and let to specialise in others. this is called STRUCTURAL DIFFERENTIATION
          • STABILISATION OF ADULT PERSONALITIES
            • "WARM BATH" THEORY - the individual can be themselves when in a warm, stable environment (home). Here they can let themselves go in an undignified way.
          • PRIMARY SOCIALISATION
            • Personalities are made not born. a child can only become an adult once learning the norms and values of their culture. the N.F is the personal factory.
      • Advantages
        • 2) connects the family to other social instituions
        • 1) explains benefeits of the family for the individual and society.
        • 3) shows shared norms and values of a society.
      • Disadvantages
        • Ignores functions of the family E.g domestic violence.
        • Sexist
        • Ignores family diversity

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