Functionalist Perspective of the Family- Murdock
Murdock (1949)- Family performs 4 key functions to meet needs of society and family.
- Stable satisfaction of sex drive- samel partner prevents 'sexual free-for-all.'
- Reproduction of next generation- without society can't continue.
- Socialisation of the young- Teach society's norms and values.
- Meeting members economic needs- such as food and shelter.
Criticisms of Murdock
- Femenists see family as serving the needs of men not women.
- Marxists say family meets needs of capitalism NOT society and its members.
Functionalist Perspective of the Family- Parsons
Functional Fit Theory- Talcott Parsons (1955)
Two kinds of family structure- nuclear and extended.
You found more of the extended family in pre-industrialised Britain. Since 18th century onwards the family has been changing more so into the nuclear family.
This is due to there now being a:
- Geographically mobile workforce- it's easier to move just children rather than 3 generations
- Socially mobile workforce- As a son does better and achieves more than the father they move out as they've achieved a higher status.
Functionalist Perspective of the Family- Parsons (
Parsons believes the modern family is loosing its functions.
He says there are to 'irreducible functions':
- Primary socialisation of children- Teaching societies norms & values.
- Stabilisation of adult personalities- Relax and release tensions so you can return to the workplace feeling refreshed.
Marxists Perspective on Family
Society is spit into working class and the capitalist class. There are several functions of the family as fulling for capitalism.
1. Inheritance of property- families pass down business and property to the next generation.
2. Idealogical functions- Zaretsky (1976) Family provides a safe haven for harsh exploitive world.
3. Unit of consumption- Advertising urges family to keep up with technology, targets children who have 'pester power' and children who don't have the latest gadget are bullied.
Liberal Feminist Perspective on Family
Campaign for equal rights and against sex discrimination.
- Women's oppression is being gradually overcome.
- We're moving towards greater equality due to further reforms & changes in attitudes.
In terms of family the believe that the family is not equal yet- but there has been gradual progress to a more equal family.
Marxist Feminist Perspective on Family
Women perform several functions to serve capitalism:
- Reproduce labour force- produce and socialise the next generation.
- Absorb anger- Fran Ansley (1972) 'Wives are takers of ****.'
- A 'reserve army' of cheap labour- Take over when cheap labour is needed- then are 'let go' to return to unpaid domestic work e.g. WW2.
Radical Feminist Perspective on Family
Society has been founded on patriarchy- the key division in society is between men and women:-
- Men are the enemy.
- Family and marriage are they key institutions.
Patriarchy must be overturned. Germain Greer (2000) Argues for the creation of all female- 'matrilocal' households as an alternative to a hetrosexual family.
Difference Perspective on Family
We can not generalise all women's experiences in one way- different women from different backgrounds have different experiences.
However some experiences are shared by all women e.g. women are at greater risk of domestic violence than men.