family key studies

  • Created by: aliya.03
  • Created on: 23-09-18 14:44

The Rapoports

explore family diversity

used to be one type of family which was nuclear

today there is a wider range of options such as 

organisational (both or one parent woking 


social class

life stage 

cohort ( different attitudes) 

criticism: chester argues the rapoports exgaerated the degree of diversity in society and the basic features of family life have remained unchanged

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Murdock ( functionalist view) 1949

he was a fucntioanlist who believed that the nuclear family was the best and they retained 4 basic functions :

primary socialisation

economic support 


emotional support

however hiw ork coulld be outdated and makes generalisations

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parsons 1956

parsons argued that over time the nucelar family only eatined 2 basic functions whihc were 

primary socialisation 

stabilisation of adult personalities

he also argues that men are naturally more suited to instrumental roles meeting the families economical needs 

he argued women are more naturally suited to expressive roles meeting the families emotional needs. these roles are based on biological differences which benefit the family and ensures needs are met 

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the new right ( Charles murray)

the new righ has similar views to functionalists and argue the nuclear famiy is the best but are more critical of family diversity and argue that other types of fmailes can create problmes such as : 

teen pregnancy can lead to welfare dependancy

cohabitation is more problematic 

same sex families only have one gender role 

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marxist view of family

argues the nuclear family benefited the capitalist system

e.g engles argued that the bourgeoisie benfited through inheritance of money and possesions 

they liked communism better where evryone is equal and earned equal amounts of money

they acted as a unit of consumption and creates inequality 

they are conflict theorists 

however one criticism is that they ignore the postitive aspects of the family such as family life and satisfaction it gives family members 

feminists argue that marxists ignore gender inequality within the family 

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functionalist view of the family


beleive that nuclear families are the best and compare society to the human body 

they are positive theorists based on value conses of social cohesion

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zaretsky 1976 - Marxist

he was a marxist who argued that the modern family gives people this fake idea of a safe haven 

it also causes alientaion meaning they feel frustrated by capitalism 

it also acts as a unit of consumption 

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feminist perspective

they are critical of the nuclear family, in particular they see them having negative effects o women as they actively contribute to the social construct of gender differences

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delphy and leonard 1992

they focus on the unpaid aspect of housewrok and see the family as being based on hierarchy with the husband being on the top. 

the husbands earns money and the wife works in the houshold but earns no money

even when women have well paid jobs they still do most of the childcare and housework

wives are exploited 

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Willmott and young

they were influenced by functionalist perspectives and took a march of progress view. meaning tey think that gender roles are slowly becoming fairer in the family

they did a survey of 2000 people in london and found out that now women and men have different but equal roles and make similar contributions to the family.

they call this symmetrical families.

they also found out that relationships are getting warmer as they spend more time together.

they developed the principle of stratified diffusion desriving the way that these cahnges often start at the top of the social class system 

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extra concepts

gatrell in 2008 found out that men are now more involved in childcare and there is this growth of this new mand wiht an increase in househusbands as there are becoming mroe jobs wchih can be done a home 

crompton and lyonnette say that attitudes to housework and inequality have changed but their behaviour hasnt 

duncombe and ,arsden also argue that women have this triple shift where they do thier paid work as well as housework and emotional support 

there was also a fairy uk research proving how on average women spend 117 more minuted doing housework a day

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ann oakley rejects the idea of the nuclear family and critices willmott and young for being optimistic in terms of men doing housework 

in 1974 she carried out research and found little evidence of symmetry 

she argued that women now have a dual burden as they often have to juggle full time pad work as well as housework and chldcare 

she viewed the nuclear family as patriarchal

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pahl (power and conventional families)

in 1989 he interviewed 102 married couples and she found out that husbands were more liekly to make decisions in the family as oppost to the wife

she found out that comparing to 30 years ago men and women are now sharing decisions 

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Oakley ( KEY STUDY)

In 1982 she argued that although family diversity was quite common, nuclear families were still powerful 

however there is a dark side to this such as domestic violence, depression and boredom to housewives and stress for male breadwinners

she argued that onventional families leave women financially dependent on their husbands and sees them as patriarchal.

she argued that in some groups such as the middle class are exploring the alternatives to the conventioanl famiy such as dual worker and lone parents however this isnt in all classes

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wider family

young and wilmott studied working class families and found out the extended family was important, they later returned and found out they were no longer as close 

this is due to geograpical mobility and closer relationships between partners 

in 2008 charles studied in swansea using a longditudinal study btween 1960 and 2000 and found that the extended family was still important as garndparents care for young children and adults are involved in caring for their parent

you have boomerang children and accordion families 

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there has been a decline in fertility as women are getting more options and choices such as

starting a family later on in life to focus on their work, this mean they have less children as they arent able to have as many

there are also alot more contraception options availabe more widely

there is less stigma around this as well as secularisation happening where religion is less important.

society is also more child centrci meaning they prefer quality realthionships as oppose to quantity of children

there is also a high cost of raising a child with it being over 250,000 pounds 

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