Nutshell of Family Theories

A brief summary of the functions of the family. In the exam you wont have time to mention all the theories, so i have just written down the important ones.

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  • Created by: Steph
  • Created on: 19-05-10 11:04


FUNCTIONALISTS - the family is nuclear and universal and performs vital functions for society, without them society would be a mess (MURDOCK AND PARSONS)They are criticised for ignoring the other types of family Diversity and the dark side of the family such as Lone- parent families and Domestic Violence.

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NEW RIGHT - They say the family should be nuclear and should perform these fucntions but are not. They favour the nuclear family and believe polices such as child benefit are contributing to the breakage of this norm, (it encouages teenagers to get pregnant young). They are criticised that not all family diversities are bad and that some families such as Lone-parent, can actually save society from things such as the mum running away from an abusive relationshipand becoming single.

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MARXISTS - They believe the family is just a unit of consumption benefiting the capitalist society. They are exploited by being persuaded into buying things like designer clothes for their children and sweets, things with no benefit. The family performs the function of teaching the child how they are to fit in society, either working/higher class families teaching their children how to do buissness and make profits. Or working class families teaching their children to accept how things are and get a job in a factory for example and just be paid what you get. They are criticised for being too negative and money obsessed.

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FEMINISTS - believe that women are forced into patriarchal, motherly caring roles, and men have more freedom to work and mess around. Women have to take care of the children, provide emotional support, do the housework and so on. Divorce gives women the freedom to choose what they want to do with their life, but the downfall is that divorce can leave the women with little finance to keep her children and herself supported. Feminists are criticised for always being negative and ignoring the good things

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