AS Sociology Theories

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Functionalism Perspectives

Set of shared norms and values.

Value consensus.

Allows individuals to cooperate harmoniously to meet societies needs.

Society is made up of parts that depend on each other.

Biological organism.

Murdock - 4 functions.

Parsons - Fit Theory, Industrial Society.

Nuclear Family!


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Murdock 1949.

1. STABLE SATISFACTION OF THE SEX DRIVE.

2. REPRODUCTION OF THE NEXT GENERATION.

3. SOCIALISATION OF THE YOUNG.

4. MEETING IT'S MEMBERS ECONOMIC NEEDS.

CRITICISMS:

COULD BE JUST AS WELL PERFORMED BY OTHER TYPES OF FAMILIES.

MARXISTS - PROMOTES CAPITALISM DOESN'T MEET NEEDS OF FAMILY.

FEMINISTS - SEE THE FAMILY AS SERVING THE NEEDS OF MEN.

NEGLECTS CONFLICT AND EXPLOITATION.

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Talcott Parsons' Functional Fit Theory.

The family meet other needs - welfare, political & religious functions.

Depends on type of society it is in.

Specific functions affect "shape" and structure of the family.

PARSONS (1955) 

2 types of family

Nuclear

Extended (three generations under one roof)

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Parsons' Functional Fit Theory

Modern industrial society.

Traditional pre-industrial society.

NUCLEAR FAMILY FITS THE NEEDS OF THE INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY + IS THE DOMINANT FAMILY TYPE.

EXTENDED FAMILY - PRE-INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY

POST INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - EXTENDED->NUCLEAR.

GEOGRAPHICALLY MOBILE WORKFORCE. (easier for a nuclear family to move)

SOCIALLY MOBILE WORKFORCE. (technology ect means talented people need access to higher paid jobs - status is achieved through this - social mobility possible)

Parsons says that this ^ means the NUCLEAR family suits our society more than EXT.

STRUCTURALLY ISOLATED FROM ITS EXTENDED KIN WITHOUT BINDING OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS THEM.

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Loss of Functions

The pre-industrial family was a multi-functional unit

A unit of production

A unit of consumption –

Therefore more self-sufficient


Parsons argues that when society industrialises the family not only changes its structure but also loses some of its functions


Family ceases to be a unit of production
Family becomes a unit of consumption only


Loses most of its other functions to other institutions such as schools and the health service

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The Nuclear Family Today

HAVE TWO ESSENTIAL MAIN FUNCTIONS!

1. PRIMARY SOCIALISATION

2. STABILISATION OF ADULT PERSONALITIES

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