Sociology: Family and Households (Sociological Views on the Family)

HideShow resource information

Functionalist view on the family and society.

Hold an optimistic view of the family. They believe that the family plays an important role for the rest of society. Talcott Parson says the family meets a number of societal and personal needs. The family is constantly evolving and that the Nuclear Family has developed (evolved) to meet the needs of modern day society.

Key Functionalists and their studies

Murdock- studied 250 different societies and cultures. Foung four key functions that appeared in all societies:

  • Reproductive
  • Economic
  • Educational
  • Suxual

Can be easily remembered as REES.

Fletcher- claims that introducing health, education and housing policies let to the lower/ working class families to take care of its members when they are sick.

Parsons- The family has two basic and irreducible functions. These are primary socialisation of the children and the stableisation of adult personalities.

Key Concepts

- Socialisation                - Sui Generis             -Social Cohersion/ Solidarity

-Norms and Values        - Institutions              -Meritocracy

-Social Order                  - Organic Analogy     -Value Consensus

-Functional Prerequisite -Socail Structure       -Status Quo

-'Best Fit' Thesis

Critisisms from other theories

  • Too harmonious and optimistic
  • Ignores the negative sides to what happens in family
  • Ignores conflict
  • Focuses on the positive aspect of the family (nuclear family) too much and ignores the fact that there is a decline in the nuclear family.

The New Right view on the family

The New Right hold traditional values and believe that the 'normal' nuclear family is the cornerstone of society. They believe in the nuclear family (similar to conservatives). The believe that families are not changing but 'deteriorating' because of the decline in the Nuclear Family.

Aim of the New Right   

  • An end to sexual permissiveness (reduce the amount of cohabiting couples, single-parent families and same-sex families.).
  • A return to 'traditional family values'.
  • These changes will bring and end to social problems such as delinquency, educational underachievement and child poverty.
  • Believe in the male 'breadwinner' of the home.
  • Rejection of single-parent families.
  • Women's roles are seen as traditional.

Murray- Believed that the Beveridge report encouraged the welfare state instead of helping people the way it was intended to because social attitudes lead people to believe they have a right to recieve benefits. He is highly critical of the Welafare state and believes that this started a dependency culture, which has now led to an Underclass.

Kep Concepts

-Conservative     -Traditional family values     -Underclass    -Dependency Culture

-Welfare State    -Delinquancy (anti-social behavious of young people.

The New Right Solutions

  • Cut Welfare Spending
  • Tighter restrictions on who is eligible for benefits.
  • Deny housing for teen mums.
  • Taxes favouring married couples.
  • Child support agencies.

Criticisms of the New Right

  • The New Right group all single-parent families together and criticise them without acknowledging many nuclear families also struggle to socialise their children properly.
  • Feminists argue that the New Right hold sexist views on women, and that women incresingly go out to work as the family can be longer survive on a single male wage.
  • If welfare benefits were cut for single-parent families…




*sexual - not suxual ;)  but thanks, helped alot :)

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Families and households resources »