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Slide 1

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· Gender roles are biological ­ male more suited to the
instrumental role and females more suited to the Key points:
expressive role · Society is based on consensus (agreememt) ­
· Family has 2 functions: family maintains this
1. socialising children into the norms and values · Social institutions must have a function if they
of society (maintaining consensus) exist ­ Family examined in terms of how it
2. Stabilisation of adult personality ­ adults need benefits society
emotional security · Nuclear family is the norm because of the
· Family lost some functions with specialised functions it performs for society ­ socialisation,
institutions (functional differentiation) controls society, relieves stress
· Family is good for society/positive · Interrelations between family and other social
· Warm bath theory ­ family is a relaxing environment
institutions is stressed ­ parents ­ schools - work
free from stress of society
Functional fit: Murdock:
· Family type fits certain type of society · Family is universal (not created by society but the
same everywhere)
· Pre-industrial: extended family had more
· By family he meant: at least 2 adults of both sexes in
socially approved sexual relationship with 1 or more
· Industrial society: nuclear family best fitted
children; own or adopted.
with need to be:
· Compared 250 societies, found variations but they
Geographically mobile: move around for all corresponded with his definition.
work, easier with nuclear family as its · Nuclear family is the basic unit because it performs 4
smaller essential functions:
Socially mobile: profession no longer - Sexual ­ production of healthy sex drive
fixed, hardwork/educ made it possible for - Reproductive ­ produces next generation
people to be whatever they wanted ­ - Economic ­ share resources (food, shelter,
conflict and tension in extended families. money)
- Educational ­ socialisation of children…read more

Slide 2

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Parsons: General:
· Look at family in a positive light and ignore the
· Too optimistic and idealistic ­ his idea of the
negative aspects
family is unrealistic and ignores the dark side of
· Feminists argue its sexist as it focuses too much
family life
on male domination
· No diversity ­ focused on middle class then
· Whereas functionalists argue family is
generalised findings to everyone beneficial for everyone, Marxists argue family is
· Ignores the benefits alternative families may more beneficial for capitalism than most people
have ­ conditions young people
· Ignores socialisation being a two way process ­ · Ignores alternative families as they only focus
children learn from adults and vice versa on nuclear
· Ignores life outside the family ­ sometime · Ignores diversity (no class, religion etc)
intervention and help is needed.
Functional Fit: Murdock:
· Young and wilmott argue the pre-industrial family · Interpretivists argue he fails to
was nuclear, not extended. acknowledge family is a product of society
· Peter laslett suggests family families were nuclear not biology
due to low life expectancy ­ grandparents died not
· Murdock claimed division of gender roles
long after birth of grandchildren.
was universal but Ann Oakley found he
· Exchange theory:
- Anderson ­ harsh conditions meant extended ignored societies where gender roles were
families were better shared/reversed
- Young and wilmott ­ industrialisation lead to · His definition of the family is political and
increase in mum centred families, mums and claims there is a right way and a wrong
married daughters relied on each other way for a family to be…read more

Slide 3

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Key points:
Murray: · Encourage the traditional nuclear family ­ environment
is the best for children to grow up in.
· Children born outside of marriage are
· Welfare benefits: too high and encourage irresponsible
linked with a range of social problems behaviour and discourage work, they are creating a
(drug abuse, teen pregnancies, etc) dependency culture.
· Studied the underclass (single mothers · Male breadwinner role should be reinforced and
and unemployed) and argues welfare supported so young males can create a sense of pride
benefits encourage irresponsible and responsibility
behaviour and should be cut · Woman should recognised their place is being a mum
· (-) feminists argue cutting benefits and a housewife
· Family is the cornerstone of society and is underthreat
would mean women had to stay in
· Diversity (especially single mothers) is unhealthy and
abusive relationships and lead to has lead to a range of social problems
greater poverty ­ unfair on children · Return to nuclear family would solve all problems.
The New Right
· Abbott and wallace: NR cover up unhappiness of
Dennis and Hasley: women and ignore their frustration in nuclear
· Children raised without a father have a families (burden on women is far greater than that on
greater chance of showing antisocial the man)
behaviour than those brought up in 2 · Blame victims for their problems (sometimes its not
parent households singles mums fault for having to raise children alone)
· Single mothers can't socialise their · The NR model of family only fits the minority
children properly ­ male role model · Marxists and feminists say alternative families are
possible but life is made difficult for them as they
needed for authority.
aren't `normal'…read more


Cameron Crawford


This is so useful, thank you so much. <3

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