Family and Households

The different perspectives of the family by sociologists

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  • Created by: Lucy
  • Created on: 14-05-12 13:10


The family performs functions that are essential for the maintenance and well being of society.

Talcott Parsons: Functional fit theory

The functions the family perform depend on the society it is found, they 'fit' the societies needs.

Two types:

Modern Industrial

Traditional pre industrial

Industrial society has two needs:

Geographically mobile workforce

Socially mobile workforce

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The functions of the family are performed purely for the benefits of the capitalist system.

They believe he family benefits the minority in power but disadvantages the working class

Based on three ideas:

Inheritance of property

Ideological functions

Unit of consumption

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New Right

Oppose family diversity

Correct family type is the nucleur

Nucleur family is 'natural' based on biological difference

The decline of the nucleur family is due to social problems e.g education failure

Lone parent families are 'un natural' they leave boys with no male role modelWomen should make caring for the family their first priority

Marriage is essential for creating a stable environment

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Post modernism

Society is rapidly changing

Society can no longer be understood through theories

Social structures are being replaced by a whole range of different and constantly changing social relationships


Contraception has allowed sex/ intimacy rather than reproduction

Family and marriage has been transformed by greater choice and equality between men and women

Women have gained independance

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Patriarchal society that appresses women

Society promotes that women are expected to do all domestic work whilst men are the breadwinners

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