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SCLY Families and Households [REVISION GUIDE]
Key definitions:
A family is usually a group of people related by marriage or blood.
A household is a person living alone or a group of people living together who may or
may not be related.…read more

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SCLY Families and Households [REVISION GUIDE]
Theories of the
family
From the specification:
The relationship of the family to the social structure and social change
Functionalist views: the importance of the nuclear family, the universality of the family,
changing functions, how the nuclear family `fits' modern society.
Marxist views: the family as part of the ideological state apparatus, as an agent of social
control.
Feminist views: patriarchy; liberal, radical and Marxist feminism.…read more

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SCLY Families and Households [REVISION GUIDE]
Meeting its members' economic needs,
such as shelter and food.
Talcott Parsons: the functions of the Evaluation
family
Parsons believes that every family in every However, Parsons view of the socialisation process
society has two 'basic and irreducible' functions: can be criticised for being too deterministic, with
the primary socialisation of children and the children being pumped full of culture and their
stabilisation of adult personalities.…read more

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SCLY Families and Households [REVISION GUIDE]
the 1950s, many western societies, including the UK, have become multicultural. Religious and
ethnic subcultural differences may mean that Parsons' version of the family is no longer
relevant in contemporary society.
2. Feminists argue that as a result of this picture of the family, functionalists tend to ignore the
`dark side' of the family ­ conflict between husband and wife, male dominance, child abuse,
and so on.…read more

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SCLY Families and Households [REVISION GUIDE]
its members to continue to live another day incest within families. She also argues that
under the harsh realities of capitalism. Zaretsky ignores the fact that during the early
stages of capitalism most working class women
had to take paid work in order for the family to
survive, and relatively few stayed at home as
full-time housewives.…read more

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SCLY Families and Households [REVISION GUIDE]
relationships. For example, Marxists
ignore accounts of family life in which
some females suggest motherhood is a
fulfilling and rewarding experience.
Feminist theories
Feminists take a critical view of the family, arguing that it oppresses women and
reproduces patriarchy. As such, they have focused on the unequal division of domestic
labour and domestic violence against women.…read more

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SCLY Families and Households [REVISION GUIDE]
power by reproducing and rearing the future ignores black and Asian women's experience of
workforce at little cost to the capitalist class. It racism which is not faced by white women.
maintains the present workforce's physical and
emotional fitness through the wife's domestic
labour. Finally, women in families can be used
as a reserve army of labour to be used in times
of economic growth and pushed back into the
home during times of economic slow-down.…read more

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SCLY Families and Households [REVISION GUIDE]
some choice in creating our family relationships. In fact, the diversity of family types found
today reflects the fact that we can choose our domestic set up for ourselves.
From an interpretivist point of view, feminists tend to neglect the meanings families have for
individuals and how family members interpret family relationships. For example, feminists
ignore accounts of family life in which some females suggest motherhood is a fulfilling and
rewarding experience.…read more

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SCLY Families and Households [REVISION GUIDE]
Functionalists see the state as acting in the However, functionalists assume that all members
interests of society as a whole and its social of the family benefit from social policies, whereas
policies as being for the good of all. They see feminists argue that policies often benefit men at
policies as helping families to perform their the expense of women.
functions more effectively and make life better
for their members.…read more

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