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· Structuralist theory= see individual less important then the
· Society acts as a human body=every part of society helps keep
society going.
· Believe nuclear family is the universal and dominant structure
as it meets the needs of industrial society.
· The family is seen as an essential to the smooth running of
· Functionalists therefore emphasise the positive role of the
family.…read more

Slide 2

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Talcott Parsons (1902-1979)
· Parsons asserts that the nuclear family is beneficial to society.
· The family evolved out of the industrial revolution.
· Industrialisation created two essential functions performed by families:
1. Primary socialisation of children= taught norms and values of society.
It is normally the family that help mould the child's personality in order
to fit the needs of society.
2. Stabilisation of adult personalities= "warm bath theory." Adult need
emotional security given by partners in a marriage. Family is a source of
stress release.
Encourages social solidarity (sense of community) and social integration
(sense of belonging)…read more

Slide 3

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G.P Murdock (1897-1985)
· Argued the nuclear family has always existed and is universal
because it performs 4 basic essential functions:
1. Sexual - regulation of sexual conduct
2. Reproductive - produces new society members
3. Economic ­ adult members bring home an income to
support their family- food, shelter, clothing etc.
4. Education ­ teaching children the norms and values of
society.…read more

Slide 4

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Criticisms of the Functionalist
· Parsons do not consider the diversity of family types. Even
within one society, there are variations based on class,
religion, ethnicity, religion etc.
· Argue that the nuclear family equal benefits individual and
society. But Marxists argue that society is shaped by the
needs of the capitalist economy and that the family exists to
serve these needs rather than those of its members.
· Focus on the positive functions of the family and give little
consideration to its disadvantages, i.e. domestic violence.…read more

Slide 5

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· Based on ideas of Karl Marx (1818-83).
· System we live in (capitalism) divides everyone in two
different class bourgeoisie (ruling class) and proletariat
(working class).
· Ruling class benefit in every way from society, and working
class are exploited.
· Structuralist theory- individual is seen less important than
· Marx predicted that the proletariat will unit and overthrow the
capitalists and create a classless society.…read more

Slide 6

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Fail to notice the inequalities and exploitation which are the
norm of society.
· Argue that this society oppress women
1. Provide free domestic labour.
2. Expressive leader- emotional carer to family members,
alleviate the strains and frustration of work.
· Working class families encourage to pursue false needs in the
form of the latest consumer goods.
· Families stresses the idea that the main route to success and
high status is based on material possessions.…read more

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