Families and Households

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  • Created on: 17-05-11 20:01

Families and Households: The nature and role of fa


 A household is a group of people who live together, who may or may not be family.                          In the 2001 census 24.4 million households were recorded. 


There are many different types of families;

  • Nuclear family- 2 generations living together.
  • Traditional extended family- 3+ generations living together. 
  • Attenuated extended family- Nuclear families that live apart from their extended family but remain in regular contact (via phone or email etc.) 
  • Single- Parent families- A single parent and their dependant children.
  • Reconstituted families- Two families joining to become step relations (Step mother etc.)

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Families and Households: The nature and role of fa


Functionalists emphasis the POSITIVE roles of the family

Murdock 1949, said there are four important functions of the family: 

  • Sexual- Provides a stable sexual relationship for adults. 
  • Reproductive- Provides new babies, more members of society. 
  • Economic- The family has to buy resources and provides for all the its members. 
  • Educational- Teaches children norms and values of society. 

Parsons 1950's, said there are two main functions of family in society: 

  • Primary socialisation (The process by which children learn norms and values)
  • Stabilises adult personalities.
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Families and Households: The nature and role of fa

FUNCTIONALISM- The criticisms..

functionalists have been criticised for idealising the family- it seems to just blank the bad bits within the family. 

The functionalist view was big in the 1960's many people think its dated today. 

No functionalists look into the issues of conflict, class or violence and the exploitation of women. 

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Families and Households: The nature and role of fa


Marxist believe the family benefits the middle class and the economy, but disadvantages the working class. 

Engels 1884, said that the family had a economic function by passing middle classes wealth down to the next generation through inheritance. 

The family is a unit with the desire to buy the goods which are produced by the capitalist industry. The family is a unit of consumption. 

MARXISM- The criticisms..

Many people think the marxist view is too negative. 

It doesn't look at the individual within society.

It assumes the worker is male. 

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Families and Households: The nature and role of fa


The family helps to maintain social order, feminists call the existing social order patriarchy. 

Patriarchy is the combination of systems, ideologies and cultural practises which ensure men have the power. 

It looks at the idea that woman are oppressed because they're socialised to be dependant on men. There are set roles for men and women in the family. 

Three strands of feminism: 

  • Marxist feminists; The exploitation of women as essential to the success of capitalist. They look at how women mostly do the household which is unpaid work. 
  • Radical feminists; The exploitation is purely because of the domination of men in society.
  • Liberal feminists; Believe the inequalities between men and woman can be solved by legal actions 
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Families and Households: The nature and role of fa

FEMINISTS- The criticisms.

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Jessica Evans

very useful

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