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Talcott Parsons

A functionlist who believed that the family provides two basic functions, primary socialisation and emotional stability.

Noted that in pre-industrial society extended family was most common. However in industrial society nuclear was more common

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Willmott and Young

Functionalist sociologists. 

Believed in the symmetrical family: 

  • A strong bond between husband and wife
  • Equal sharing of tasks in the home
  • Leisure time spent together
  • Overall equality between husband and wife

Believe that the nuclear family has started to become more symmetrical

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Eli Zaretsky

A marxist feminist. 

Believes that the family are unable to provide for the psychological and personal needs of individuals. 

Due to being a marxist, sees family as a way of keeping the capitalist economy going. A cycle of workers. 

'The family' has become a vital unit of consumption- consuming products of capitalism.

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Delphy and Leonard 1992

Radical Feminists.

See the family as an economic system- in which women are exploited. The key to this exploitation is that the family members work not for themselves but for the head of the household. 

They believe that the family is a patriarchal and hierarchical institution through which men dominate and exploit women.

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Germaine Greer 2000

Radical feminist.

Believes that family life continues to disadvantage and opress females. 

Triple Burden:

  • Women as wives- Greer argues that there is a strong ideolgy which suggests that being wife is the most important view. Also believes that men need marriage more than women do.
  • Women as mothers- Greer says a 'mother' isn't a career option because of 'the accepted ideal of femine beauty'. They have to 'take the blame' when their children are judged by society. 
  • Women as daughters- Greer suggests that more evidence shows that daughters are likely to experience sexual abuse from any male relative- believes that this is an extreme extensention of partriarchal power 
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Gibson 1994

believes that serculisation of marriage helped break down marriages. 

Due to modern society and media, marriage has been romanticised. 

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Morgan (2003) and Chandler (1993)

Morgan (2003) believes that cohabitation is used not as before marriage situation


Chandler (1993) believes that cohabiting is lengthening, instead of people getting married. 

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