SCLY1 Families and Households AQA AS

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1a) Functionalism
Based on a value consensus­ a set of norms and values into which society socialises its
Theoretical approach/Macro approach our behaviour is shaped by social institutions
(politics, family, religion, media, and education).
Society is described as a biological organism if there is something wrong with the society is
wont function properly.
Nuclear family= parents and dependent children extended family= three generation family living
in the same household.
Murdock believed the family performed 4 functions reproductive (producing the next
generation), educational (primary socialisation of children, they learn the values of society),
economical (provide food, shelter), sexual (healthy sex life >avoid affairs).
Parsons suggested four functions: Primary socialisation (first stages of the learning process),
stabilisation of the adult personality (the family providing emotional and psychological
support), and preindustrial society (ascribed status, predominantly extended, families are
producers, agriculturally dominant), modern industrial society (achieved status, families are
consumers, predominantly nuclear, machine intensive).
Parsons functional `fit' theory The function of the family performs will depend upon the kind
of society on which it is found in. He distinguishes this between 2 family types nuclear
(industrial) & extended (preindustrial).
Geographically mobile workforce moving to where the jobs are. Socially mobile workforce
social positions, in modern society an individual's status is achieved by their own efforts.
Instrumental and expressive roles traditional nuclear family view of husbands and wives.
Criticisms of the functionalist perspective: Too narrow and optimistic, ignores family
diversity and conflict, feminists argue that the family only benefits men, focuses only on the
nuclear family.
1b) Marxism
Developed by two key thinkers Karl Marx & Fredrick Engles.
Marx argued that institutions like the family, education and the media function to maintain
Marxism is a structural conflict theory. It sees society divided into two opposing classes
bourgeoisie (capitalist classownership of the means of production gives them political and
ideological power) exploits the proletariat (working class forced to sell their labour to the
bourgeoisie in order to survive).
Ideology a set of beliefs that serve the interest of a dominant social group by justifying their
privileged position.
Capitalism an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are
controlled by private owners for profit.
Marxists see the family reproducing the labour force, consuming the products of capitalism,
providing emotional support, educating the children to accept the inequalities of capitalist
In early communal society the family was not needed, it only became necessary with the
accumulation of wealth and the need to defend it. (Engles).
The family provides a safety valve a release from alienation and oppression at work. (Zaretsky).
The role of women in the capitalist society was housewives (workers are cared for). This makes
them more productive and boost the economy a great benefit that the capitalist class gets for
Criticisms of the Marxist perspective: Tends to assume that the nuclear family is dominant
in the capitalist society. Ignores family diversity. Feminists argue that the social class and
capitalism underestimates the importance of gender inequality. Functionalists argue that
is ignores the benefits that the family provide for its members.
1c) Feminism
Argue that the family oppresses women.
Patriarchy refers to male dominance with men having power and authority.

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Liberal feminists concerned with campaigning against sex discrimination and for equal rights
(e.g. equal pay, more job opportunities). They argue that women's oppression is being gradually
overcome (march on progress) by changing laws which in turn changes people' attitudes
towards women. Criticisms: other feminist say that changing laws and people's attitudes
won't be enough to bring equality. Oakley 77 hours of domestic duties.
Marxist feminists argue that the main cause of women's oppression is capitalism.…read more

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Criticisms: feminists argue that it is an attempt to justify a return to the traditional patriarchal
family. Wrongly assumes that the patriarchal nuclear family is `natural' rather than socially
constructed, cutting benefits would cause greater poverty.
2c) New Rights View on the Family Compared to other Sociological Perspectives
Functionalism: New Right thinkers view the nuclear family as the cornerstone of society. They
argue that the increasing number of children being born outside of marriage and raised by
single mothers is leading to a `feral underclass'.…read more

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Changes of position of women: men and women are
becoming more equal e.g. jobs, equal pay. Women used to marry for financial stability however,
now women have their own careers to support themselves and no longer need a husband.
Radical feminists women feel frustrated with a patriarchal marriage.
What is has caused: New Right: undermines the traditional nuclear family. Feminists: women
are breaking free from the oppression of the patriarchal family. Postmodernists: gives individuals
to choose and end relationships greater family diversity.…read more

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Asian families: tend to be larger than other ethnic groups. Households sometimes contain
three generations, because when migrating to Britain houses were often shared by extended
families also they are a higher proportion in the childbearing age groups.
3e) Extended Families Today
Peter Willmott argues that the extended family continues to exist as a `dispersed extended
family', where relatives are geographically separated but maintain frequent contact through
visits and phone calls.…read more

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March on progress view Marxist and feminists argue that society is based on conflict
argues that children in western between different social groups such as social classes or gender
societies has been improving There are inequalities among children: many children today are
and today is better than it has unprotected and badly cared for.…read more

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Older women may be less
fertile and have fewer fertile years remaining, so they produce fewer children.
Reasons for the decline it birth rates: Changes in the position of women legal equality with
men (job opportunities, equal pay), changes in attitudes to family life and women's role, easier
to divorce, abortion/contraception (more control over their fertility). Decline in the IMR there
has been an improvement in housing, sanitation, drainage, services. Also there is more
knowledge about diseases and better living standards.…read more

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Net migration difference between the number of immigrants entering a country and
the number of emigrants leaving it
19391945 WWII led to more people immigrating to the UK. 19461978 More people emigrated
than immigrated. 1950's Black immigrants from the Caribbean began to arrive in the UK.
19601970 More immigrates from south Asia began to enter the UK. 19621990 Series of
immigration and nationality acts were placed severe restrictions on nonwhite immigration.
1980's Nonwhites accounted for little more than a quarter of all immigrants.…read more

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Postmodernity and the Life Course
Other sociologists reject the modernist idea. Sociologists influenced by social action and
postmodernist views argue that structural or modernist approaches ignore that as individual
social actors, we make choices about our family life and relationships. Structural
approaches wrongly assume that our actions are shaped and dictated by the `needs of
society'.…read more

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Morgan argues, it is pointless trying to make largescale generalisations about
`they family' as if it were a single thing, as functionalists do. Instead we ought to give more
attention to how people create their own diverse family lives and practices.
Weeks observes that despite changing attitudes, family patterns continue to be fairly
traditional. Most people still live in family most children are brought up by couples and many
divorcees remarry.…read more



Impressive notes! Thank you.


What grade did you get in this module??


I got an A :)


Is this and the unit 2 revision guide that u have enough to get me a A in the exam?


Well thats all I used to revise, so i hope so! :)

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