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· The functions of the family
Plays a vital role in maintaining the social system as a whole
Performs beneficial functions both for wider society and for
all its individual members
· Key writers
Talcott Parsons
George Peter Murdock
· Evaluation
Assume the family is harmonious
Ignore conflict and exploitation, e.g. child abuse and
oppression of women…read more

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Talcott Parsons (1955)
· The isolated nuclear family
The family benefits both society as a whole and all the
individual members of the family
The family has changed from the extended kin network found
in pre-industrial times to a specialized nuclear unit
The family has become specialized because of geographical
mobility, achieved not ascribed status, rise in capitalism,
moving from producers to consumers and loss of functions
(NHS, schools, etc.)
· Nuclear family has two basic and irreducible
Primary socialization
Stabilization of adult personalities
Warm bath theory…read more

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Talcott Parsons (1955)
· Evaluation
Feminists would argue the modern family is patriarchal and
oppressive breadwinner/housewife roles
Marxists would argue the family's function is to produce
workers in capitalism and teach children their role and to
conform (social control)
Can Parsons' study to be applied to the modern diverse
society?…read more

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George Peter Murdock (1949)
· What is the family?
Definition: `The family is a social group characterized by common
residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes
adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially
approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or
adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults'
Based his definition of the family on a sample of 250 societies in
which he claimed contained a basic nucleus of the nuclear family
He believes that it is found in all human societies (universal)
· Nuclear family performs four essential functions:
Stable satisfaction of the sex drive
Reproduction of the next generation
Socialisation of the young
Satisfaction of members' economic needs…read more

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George Peter Murdock (1949)
· Evaluation
Ignores family diversity
Ignores the `dark side' of family life
Ignore variations of family life based on class, ethnicity,
religion and locality
Assumes the family is a universal norm…read more

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Aiste - Team GR

very useful for revision. I will defiantly be using this before my exams.
thank you :) 

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