AS Socilogy : Family notes

these are my Family notes which i typed up from my class notes! =)

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sociology notes 1
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 value consensus which is shared culture into
which family socializes members.
Argue that modern family is necessary and functional because it
meets the requirements of the economic system.
Society is like a biological organism. Both made up of system
of different parts (organs, social institutions, e.g. family,
education_ parts depend on each other to meet systems needs.
Although, as we will see in a moment, there are disagreements amongst
Functionalist sociologists about the precise nature and scope of
various "family functions", there does tend to be a broad consensus
over two basic ideas in terms of the relationship between the family unit
and wider society.
Depending on type of society family performs other functions too, e.g.
welfare, religions.
In terms of a society (or "social system"), Functionalists tend to
concentrate upon the broadest, most fundamental, elements namely,
social institutions mainly because institutions represent general

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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 was at home caring for her
family, and this was something natural while men were breadwinners.
Parsons: nuclear family has only 2 functions:
Primary socialisation: teaching of shared norms and values,
assimilate domestic culture.…read more

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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 of sex drive, in some societies, there are
rules limiting or forbidden sexual relationships outside
marriage. This helps to stabilize the social system, with out
rules and conflict.
Economic cooperation among members :
satisfies members economic needs e.g.…read more

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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 ­ arguments
The nuclear family is not universal but a product of capitalism.…read more

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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, and raising children.
Two class society based on exploitation of one group by another :
Argue that the working class extended family has been discouraged by
capitalist ruling class.…read more

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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 relationships in, for
example, Capitalist society.…read more

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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.
Women oppression predates capitalism: women not only oppressed
by capitalism but by patriarchy.
Liberal feminists :
Argue gender inequality being though changing people attitudes.
Socializing patterns, legal/policy changes e.g. greater equality but not
yet complete.…read more

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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.
Many women also play a "dual role", being seen as both paid
workers and unpaid housewives. This idea serves to emphasise the
way in which women are exploited by both Capitalists and men in
general.…read more

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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 structural
relationship to Capitalist forms of economic production.…read more


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