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Perspectives Of Family


Based on Conesus agreement

Functionalist perspective, interpretation will be conditioned by the
belief that the family institution serves a useful purpose for society as
a whole

Family is an intuition that is beneficial to society, and its members,
and society is based on…

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patterns of human behaviour that are highly organised and which have
persisted over time. The various ways in which institutions relate to
each other (on the basis of "organisational purpose" and "institutional
needs") gives us the social structure of any society.

Parsons and Murdock ­ women's role…

Page 3

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The definition and demarcation of family roles
(mother, father, daughter and so forth).

. The way in which a division of labour is established
between family members.

Murdock: family has 4 essential functions for society and its members

Peter Murdock :

Sexual relationships :
stable satisfaction…

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Criticism of functionalism:

Ignore conflict and exploitation e.g. child abuse oppression of
Ignores family diversity assumes nuclear family is norm.

Functions of family has become fewer and more specialized, parsons
belives that there are now less important, you make your own


Based on conflict…

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The family is a tool of oppression, family hands down wealth and
power, from generation to generation, the rich stay rich and the poor
stay poor.

The family provides labour force who works at low cost, as women
aren't paid for their work in keeping house,…

Page 6

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Reproducing labour force ­ reproducing the future generations
of works.
Consumption of products of capitalism, ( unit of consumption),
rather then unit of production.

In this respect, the family institution is seen in terms of the way in
which it links into the wider structure of social…

Page 7

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sociology notes 7

terms, the exploitation of women by men), it is argued, predates
capitalism and should, therefore, be given more significance.


Based on patriarchy

Many feminist writers have argued that although class is important, an
equally important concept ("patriarchy") has largely been neglected
by (male) sociologists as a…

Page 8

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Capitalism main cause of women's oppression ­ performs functions
for capitalism women :

Reproduce labour force ­ socialise next generation of works,
service current generation of worker.
Absorb anger otherwise directed at capitalism

Fran ansley : wives soak up husbands frustration resulting from
exploitation at work.


Page 9

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Women act as "unpaid servants" within the home. This idea is
explicitly linked, by Marxist feminists, to the economic relationship
between Capital and Labour, in the sense that Labour is exploited
by Capital in the economic sphere just as women are exploited by
men within the family.…

Page 10

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Marxist Feminism.

As the name suggests, Marxist feminists have tended to explain gender
inequalities from the viewpoint of Karl Marx's analysis of Capitalism.

As we have already seen in relation to family life, various feminist writers
have analysed institutions such as the family in terms of its…


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