The functionalist perspective on the family.
Functionalists see family as an important building block for society.
Murdock > family performs 4 functions
1) stable satisfaction of sex drive
2) reproduction of the next generation
3) socialisation of the young
4) meeting its members economic needs (food/shelter)
criticised by > feminists > family serves needs of men + oppresses women.
Marxist> meets needs of capitalists not family
Parsons 'functional fit' theory
Parsons functional fit theory.
family can perform military, political, welfar or religious functions.
Nuclear family > parents / dependant children
Extended family > three generations under one roof
The structure + functions will fit needs of society.
2 types of society.
Modern industrial society > nuclear family fits needs
Traditional pre-industrial society > extended family fits needs.
Industrial society has two needs.
1) geographically mobile workforce > easier for nuclear family
2) socially mobile workforce > meritocracy can occur, not ascribed status as was with pre-industrial society. - most talented hardworking should have more important roles.
nuclear family relieves opportunity for conflict as in extended family and also structurally isolated people - meaning new families have no obligation to help extended kin.
Loss of functions
Pre - industrial family was a multi-functional Self sufficient unit.
Unit of production / consumption.
Parsons says > when society becomes industrialised, family loses its functions.
- no longer a unit of production
- become unit of consumption
Nuclear family specialises in: 1) promary socialisation of children
2) stabilisation of adult personalities- home is a place to relax to meet efficience needs of economy.
Evidence against Parsons
Contradictions of functional fit theory.
Young + Willmott > pre-industrial family was nuclear not extended as Parsons says.
> combination of late childbearing and short life expectancy meant grandparents were unlikely to be alive after first grandchild.
Anderson - Exchange theory states why working class had extended family in Mid 19th century. - because they needed kin to look after young.
> individual breaks off or maintains family for cost/ benifits.
Tamara Hareven > Concluded extended family, not nuclear as PArsons claims was structure best to meet demands of industrial society.
Marxist perspective on the family
Function of family is to benifit capitalist system.
Functions family fulfills to capitalist.
1) Inheritance of property
Marx call the early classes society ' Primitive comunism'
- this is where everyone owned the means of production.
Engels > calls this the 'promiscuous horde' - where there was no restriction on sex.
Increased wealth brought about the private property and a group of men who owned the means of production - which brought the 'patriarchal monogamous nuclear family'.
Engels says monogamy was essential to be sure child would legitimately inherit property.
'world historical defeat of female sex!'- women were turned into instrument of reproducing children.
2) Ideological functions - justifying inequality
Done by socialising children into hierarchy > this prepares them for working life.
Zaretsky > family performs function of offering a 'haven' from work + expoloitation.
3) A unit of consumption- Family aid profits for capitalists as they produce products to sell and also buy. - Advertisement + media target different consumers 'Pester Power'.
Criticisms to marxist perspective
Criticisms to Marixists perspective.
They assume nuclear family is dominant which ignore family diversity.
- Feminists say they underestimate gender inequalities in family > serves men not capitalism.
- Functionalists say marxists ignore real benifits family provided its members with.
Feminist perspectives on family
- It oppresses women ( domestic labour / violence )
1) liberal feminists - want equal rights ( eg pay)
They say womans oppression is being overcome.
Attitudes + laws changing
> full equality will depend onother changes / reforms
-Socialisation will need to change.
Similar view to march of progress- men are doing more domestic labour compared to past. Criticised by other feminists as it fails to tackle womens oppression.
2) Marixist Feminist - main cause to womans oppression isnt men but capitalism.
It performs functions: Women reproduce labour force.- through unpaid work, socialisation of children + maintaining and servicing of current workers.
Women absorb anger- Ansley says women are ' takers of ****'.- they soak up frustrations of exploitation from work> this explains domestic violence on women.
Women are a reserve army of cheap labour.
3) Radical Feminist - All societies are based on patriarchy.
'Men are the enemy' source of oppression + expoloitation
- Family + marriage are the key institutions in patriarchal society.
- men benifit from sex, unpaid labour.
- dominate women through threat or actual domestic and sexual violence.
Patriarchal system needs to be overturned.
> only way to achieve separatism is for women to live independantly
Radicals want political lesbianism! - Matrilocal households.
Somerville- as a liberal feminist say Radicals fail to see how womans position has improved. > easier to divorce, better jobs, fertility control etc.
Hetrosexual attractions will keep the nuclear family.
4) Difference feminism
> We cant generalise womens experience.
Criticisms of perspectives on family.
Assumption that nuclear family is dominant type.
> ignores family diversity.