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Objectives
Having viewed this slide show you should be aware of:
The `loss of functions' thesis.
The functions of the family.
That in late modernity or postmodern society the family is taking on
new functions.
There is a growth in people seeking alternatives to the family or
choosing alternative styles of family life.
Family and Culture Week 3…read more

Slide 3

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Introduction
Ronald Fletcher (1966)
talked of the
'multifunctional family',
but he was equally
aware of the family
being stripped of its
secondary functions.
The modern nuclear family, he felt, was left with `residual'
functions.
Family and Culture Week 3…read more

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George Murdock's Universal Residual
Functions
George Murdock (1949) conducted a survey
of 250 societies and claimed there are four
universal residual functions of the family:
sexual economi
c
educatio reprodu
(by education he really n ctive
meant socialisation)
Family and Culture Week 3…read more

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Talcott Parsons: Family
Stripped of its Functions
Talcott Parsons sees the modern family
as "stripped" to just two `basic and
irreducible' functions:
Stabilisation
Socialisation
of adult
of children
personalities
Family and Culture Week 3…read more

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Critique of Functionalist View
Both Murdock and
Parsons reflect the
functionalist perspective
on family functions
The family functions in an
over-romantic and
idealised way.
This referred to as the
`warm bath theory' of
family.
Family and Culture Week 3…read more

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