AQA - Sociology - Family and households

Revision for the Family unit in Sociology (Key Names)

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  • Created by: Melis
  • Created on: 10-05-09 20:58

Murdock (Functionalist)

Murdock believed that the family perrforms four basic functions for indivisuals and society and that they apply to all societies

  • Sexual - stable satisfaction of the sex drive
  • Reproductive - new members of society
  • Economic - essential for survival
  • Educational - socialisation of the young into societies shared norms and values


1. Murdock doesnt consider whether these functions could be performed by other social instututions.

2. Feminists and Marxists argue that functionalism neglects conflict and exploitation

3. Feminists see the family as serving the needs of men and oppressing women whilst Marxists believe that it meets the needs of capitalism.

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Talcott Parsons (Functionalist)

Parsons believes that the family has two functions that are common to all societies:

  • Primary Socialisation
  • Stabilisation of adult personalities

Parsons believes that there is a clear division of labour:

That men are the breadwinners whilst women are the housewives.

Parsons believes that this division of labour is based on biological differences:

Women are naturally suited to the nurturing role and men to the provider role.

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Key Concepts to know

Segregated conjugal roles, joint conjugal roles, marriage divorce, norms, values, culture, idustrialisation, Ann OakleyTalcott Parsons, Dual Burden, Althusser, Triple Shift, feminization of the workforce, Gershuny, Same sex couples, domestic violence, Edgell, Barrett and McIntosh, dark figure, feminist, Marxists, functionalists, radical feminists, new right, patriarchy, symmetrical family, ariesand shorte, children act 1989, divorce reform act, march of progress, Murdock, nuclear family, step families, extended family, cohabitation, separation, personality factories, capitalist, bourgeoisie, proletariat, monogamy, polygamy, **** in marriage, fertility rate, infant mortality rate, death rate, migration, emigration, lone parent families, dependency culture, Charles Murray, remarriages, secularisation, stigma, Chester, giddens, postmodernism, contraception, bernardes, dobash and dobash, class, ethnicity, somerville, cereal packet family

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