The personal life perspective


Criticisms of other perspectives

  • The Personal life perspective establish two weaknesses with the feminism, marxism and functionalism...
  • 1. It assumes the traditional nuclear family is the dominant family type and that they ignore the increased family diversity
  • 2.They are structuralist theorys and suggest that the members of the family are passive and manipulated by society
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Main Assumptions

  • Takes an interactionist and postmodernist view and ignores the structuralist view
  • Argues that the structuralist view ignores the concept that people have some choice in creating family relationships
  • They argue to understand family relationships rather than looking at the functions of the members, we need to look at the meaning the members put behind their relationships
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The sociology of personal life

  • A new perspective of families
  • Functionalism, marxism and feminism offer a top down structural approach to family
  • Personal life perspective offers a bottom up interactionist approach and puts emphasis on the meaning of family relationships
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Beyond ties of blood and marriage

  • The personal life perspective draws on other personal or intimate relationships even if the people are not related...
  • 1.Relationship with friend- your close friends may be like a brother or sister to you
  • 2.Fictive Kin- Close family friend e.g you mums best friend that you may call auntie
  • 3.LGBTQ+ Chosen Family- a supportive network of close friends or ex-partners who are not related by blood or marriage
  • 4.Relationship With Dead Relatives- the memory of dead relatives may live on in someones memory and continue to shape how someone behaves
  • 5.Relationship with pets- Becky Tipper found that children frequently saw pets as part of the family
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Donor conceived children

  • Nordqvist and Smith found that the issue of blood and genes raised a lot of feelings when it came to parenthood
  • Some people emphasised the importance of social relationships over genetic ones
  • Problems in families included involving a donors parents as grandparents and the donors children as siblings
  • For Lesbian couples problems included the equality between the genetic and non-genetic mothers- the donor might be treated as the real seconed parent
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Evaluation of the personal life perspective

  • Nordqvist and Smiths study highlights the importance of the personal life perspective over the structuralist approach
  • The perspective helps people to understand how people themselves construct and design their relationships
  • It can be accused of being too broad in its view
  • It rejects the top down approach taken by other perspectives such as functionalism
  • Sees intimate relationships as performing the important function of providing us with a sense of belonging and relatedness
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