Sociology AS different perspectives about family

Sociology AS different perspectives about family 

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Sociology- Theories about the family
There are Different Sociological approaches to Family Life.
Murdock claimed that he had found evidence of nuclear families in the 250 different societies he studies
The family is universal because it fullfills the following essential functions for society
They believe that the nuclear family is a positive institution that is beneficial to society - they look at the
functions that the nuclear family performs for the good of society as a whole. These functions include:
· Reproduction - the family has children which means the human race keeps going
· Primary socialisation - the family teaches children norms (acceptable behaviour) and values (right and
· Economic support ­ The family gives financial support, it feeds and provides shelter for it's members
Marxists are critical of the family and society. They believe society is based on a conflict between the
classes ­ working class and ruling class. The family helps to maintain class differences in society as the rich
can afford to give their children a better start in life than the poor, e.g. pay for a better education, get them a
good job either in their own business or their friends businesses. Marxists believe the family socialises the
working class to accept that it is fair that the classes are unequal.
Marxism - Good points
1.Unveils the interests of the dominant and powerful groups in shaping schooling.
2.Reveals the undeclared agenda of schooling. But, so do functionalists.
3.Documents resistance by students to negative labelling.
Marxism - Criticism
1.People treated as 'cultural dopes'.
2.Tends towards conspiracy theory
3.Very value laden (capitalism - no advantages?).
. Feminists are person whose beliefs and behaviors are based on feminism
See the family as NEGATIVE for society.
Feminists believe the family is bad for women. Girls and boys learn their different gender roles within the
family through socialisation. Girls copy their mothers, doing housework, whilst boys copy their fathers, doing
DIY. They then learn that this is how male and female roles should be. Feminists believe that the family is
male dominated ­ the term for this is patriarchal.
Critical views of the family
See the family as NEGATIVE for society.
Other sociologists see the family as a potentially harmful place for some, if not all of its members.
How might the family be seen as harmful? Dobash and Dobash have studied domestic violence, whilst
others have looked at child abuse and mental illness caused by the family. This is often referred to as the
dark side of family life.
Laing ­ is a radical psychiatrist, he also sees the family as harmful to its members, causing mental illness e.g.
schizophrenia, depression, stress etc


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