AQA Sociology - Families and Household




The family has a function in society just like everything else in society

Society benefits from the family and it's the heart of it


Sampled 250 families

Nuclear family is universal



Nuclear family is stripped to just two basic functions: SOCIALISATION OF CHILDREN AND STABILISATION OF ADULT PERSONALITIES (warm bath theory - Steele and Kidd)


Family functions are over romantic and idealised

- Doesn't account for the dark side of the family

- Only focuses on the nuclear family

-Society has changed, no longer applicable

- Family members take up different roles in the household


Family functions are: Inheritance of property (essential for private property making, women subject to control which is stopped by overthrowing patriarchy) | Ideological functions (promotes inequality and capitalism through ideologies that justify it and maintains it) | Unit of consumption (Generates profits by exploiting workers and family. Use media, pester power, having latest products)

Bourgeoisie - Ruling Class (Benefit from society) Control other institutions that socialise the proletariat into believing capitalism is a good idea.

Proletariat - Working Class (Exploited by the bourgeoisie) Follow the ruling class ideology and focuses mainly on the economic systems

Karl Marx

Capitalist society based on unequal conflict between two social classes

Macro-Conflict Theory - Institutions maintain class inequality and false class consciousness


- Only looks at the negative side of the family

- Family is a mini factory to produce the next generation of workers 

- Only refers to the nuclear family

- Ignores human free will


Marxist, Liberal and Radical all believe society is patriarchal and men are dominating and exploiting women.

Marxist: Main cause of oppression isn't men but capitalism, women produce the labour force (unpaid domestic labour) and socialising the next generation

Women as a reserve army --> cheap labour force

Ansley (1972): "Wives are takers of ****" who soak up alienation and exploitation that their husbands suffer at work

Liberal: Campaigning against sex discrimination for equal rights and opportunities for women.

Believe women's oppression is being gradually over come through changing people's attitudes through changes in law (SEX DISCRIMINATION ACT 1975, EQUAL PAY ACT 1970)

Young and Willmott -Hold a similar view to that of the 'march of progress'

Radical: societies founded on patriarchy and it's the key division in society between men and women

Men are the enemy and source of exploitation and oppression

Women confined to limited roles within the family home --> sexual division of labour

Nuclear family only meets the needs of men and exploits women --> socialises the next generation --> ensures exploitation continues


- Only refers to the nuclear family

- Refers to women as simply puppets to me

- Doesn't refer to men as the victims

- Only focuses on the negatives in society

- Laws have been put in place to make society




Wow! Long but very useful hopefully this will help me pass my Exams Now! Thanks