Theories of the Family

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Theories of the Family

The functionalist perspective

Functionalist are a consensus macro theory that look at the nuclear family in a positive light.

The organic analogy/Human analogy

Functionalist see the family as human body one with different cells and organs that function together to ensure it runs smoothly. Each part is individual for instance the education system and religion however they all contribute to maintaining the social system as a whole. Functionalists see the family as positive because it’s beneficial for both its members and wider society.

Murdock’s four functions of the family

1.       Sexual -               (keeps the parents happy for loving environment)

2.       Reproductive - (creates the next generation)

3.       Economic -         (Financial support (shelter food etc.)

4.       Educational-      (Socialisation)

Parsons Functional Fit theory

·         Parsons said that the nuclear family can be found in all industrial societies

Parsons two irreducible functions

Parson said that the family is now left with two irreducible functions these are;

1.       Primary socialisation

2.       Stabilisation of the adult personality – also known as the warm bath theory (relax from a day of work etc.)

Parsons see’s conjugal roles segregated from birth (biological) as women give birth to the child they should pay the expressive role.

The Marxist perspective

The Marxist have a conflict view of the world we live and they see modern society as broken up into two social classes;

1.       The bourgeoisie (the upper middle class, ones who own the factories etc.)

2.       The proletariats (the working class, known solely for their…


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