Family- Key Studies

  • Created by: RubyNiamh
  • Created on: 12-07-18 10:00

Delphy and Leonard

  • Femenist Perspective
  • Men benefit most from the family, not benefiting capitalists like Marxists believe
  • Family has a key role in maintaining patriachy
  • Believe that the family is an economic system involving a particular set of labour relations in which men benefit from and women are exploited. 
  • Women are oppressed due to carrying out dual burden/triple shift
  • Example: Women have paid employment outside the home but they still have to carry out household tasks which are not equally shared with their male partners.
1 of 6


  • Femenist perspective
  • Speaks about the idea of conventional family, defines them as:
  • ‘Nuclear families composed of legally married couples, voluntarily choosing the parenthood of one or more children’
  • Studies origins and explanations for this idea
  • Concludes that these sterotypes are becoming increasingly archaic and that certain groups in the community may be moving towards a more open appraisal of other ways of living 
2 of 6


  • Functionalist perspective
  • Believes there are two main functions of the family which are:   To socialise children and To stabilise adult personalities
  • Parsons work has been criticised by other sociologists and shows a more idealised image of the family than the true image.
  • Femenists and Marxists both criticise this theory
3 of 6

Rapoport and Rapoport

  • Pioneering studies about family diversity
  • Identified five different aspects of diversity(pre-dated LGBTQ)

Organisational (eg internal divisions of domestic labour)

Cultural (beliefs and values)

Class (eg how the family’s position in the social class system affects the availability of resources)

Life course (stage in the family life cycle)

Cohort (historical period)


4 of 6

Wilmott and Young

  • Functionalist Perspective, surveyed around 200 families
  • Used term symmetrical family for stage 3 (nuclear family)
  • Believe conjugal roles arent interchangeable but equal importance
  • The ‘Principle of Stratified Diffusion’ is the theory that what happens at the top of the stratification system today will diffuse downwards tomorrow. The ‘managing director family’ (Stage 4) cited in their research was work-centred rather than home-centred, with the wife responsible for home and children.
  • Theory has been criticised by feminists who saw little evidence of either ‘symmetry’ or a move towards Stage 4 amongst working class families.
5 of 6


  • Functionalist Perspective
  • Believe the family is a tool of the ruling class
  • Example: The system depends on domestic labour of housewives who reproduce future generations of workers
  • The family just cushions the effects of a capitalist society and also provides a vital consumer for the ruling class
  • Believes that only socialism will end the oppresion of the working class
6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Families resources »