Families and Households Sociologists

Functionalism - G.P. Murdock (1949) - functions of the family
Reproductive, economic, sexual & educational.
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Functionalism - G.P. Murdock (1949) - nuclear family
Claimed it was universal.
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Functionalism - Talcott Parsons (1955) - functional fit
Functional fit theory - family adapts to fit the functional prerequisites (needs) of society.
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Functionalism - Talcott Parsons (1955) - functions of the family
Primary socialisation & stabilisation of adult personalities.
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Functionalism - Talcott Parsons (1955) - warm bath theory
Warm bath theory - immersion in family life relieves the pressures & frustrations from work & society.
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Functionalism - Talcott Parsons (1955) - structural differentiation
The family has lost some of its functions due to structural differentiation (specialist institutions taking over).
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Anti-Functionalism - Laslett (1972)
Industrialisation did not create the family as it existed before this point.
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Anti-Functionalism - Anderson (1971)
Found evidence of the extended family throughout and after industrialisation, disproving Parsons Functional Fit theory.
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Anti-Functionalism - Leach (1967)
Nuclear family life can cause heightened stress rather than relief because families demand too much from each other.
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New Right - Murray (1990)
An increase in lone parenthood leads to a 'culture of dependency', meaning a work-shy 'underclass' depend on welfare from the state rather than being self-reliant.
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New Right - Dennis & Erdos (2000) - Families without Fathers
Absent fathers create children who grow up without discipline or a suitable role model. Boys also grow up without the expectation to provide for a future family.
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Marxism - Engels (1884) - the creation of the family according to marxism
Men needed legitimate heirs to pass down private property, and women required economic security (essentially rendering them 'glorified prostitutes').
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Marxism - Zaretsky (1976) - how the family benefits capitalism
Reproduces future generations of workers, consumes the products of capitalism. socialises children into the ruling class ideology & provides false consciousness.
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Feminism - Oakley (1985) - gender role socialisation
Manipulation (boys/girls handled differently), Canalisation (boys/girls use different toys/games), Verbal Appelations (boys/girls praised/punished for different things), and Differential Activity Exposure (girls imitate mothers, boys imitate fathers)
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Radical Feminism - Millett (1968) - separatism
Separatism of the sexes is the solution to a patriarchal society.
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Radical Feminism - Delphy & Leonard (1992) - how the family benefits men according to radical feminism
The family benefits men as women provide emotional support but rarely receive it back.
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Radical Feminism - Greer (2007) - matrifocal households
Matrifocal households (female-headed) or all-female households are the solution to the patriarchal family.
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Marxist Feminism - Benston (1972) - women exploited by capitalism
Women reproduce the future workforce and commit unpaid domestic labour all to little cost to capitalism.
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Marxist Feminism - Ansley (1972) - women are the 'takers of ****'
Exploitation of male workers leads to frustration being taken out on the wife as a reassertion of masculinity.
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Liberal Feminism - Somerville (2000) - progress to equality
The rise of symmetrical families provides evidence to suggest there is progress, however equality has not yet been reached.
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Liberal Feminism - Wilkinson (1996) - genderquake
Women are beginning to compare the benefits of family life to an education/career.
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Liberal Feminism - Sharpe (1996) - changing priorities of women
Sharpe studied girls' priorities in schools in the 1970s & 1990s and found priorities changed from the family to working towards a career.
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Chester (1985) - the neo-conventional family
An increase in dual-earner families by the 1980s.
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The Rapoports (1982) - 5 types of family diversity
1. Organisational diversity (roles), 2. Cultural diversity, 3. Social class diversity, 4. Life stage diversity, 5. Generational diversity.
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Postmodernism - Cheal (1993)
We live in a volatile, post-modern society in which family structures are fragmented & diverse, so we cannot generalise about families.
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Postmodernism - Giddens (1992) - pure relationship
Relationships are based on confluent love and if either partners' needs are not being met, they are free to leave.
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Postmodernism - Beck (1992) - the negotiated family
Before entering a relationship, partners negotiate to enter on an equal basis to ensure the family works, otherwise people are likely to leave.
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Postmodernism - Stacey (1998) - benefits of post-modernity to women
Greater choice and freedom has benefitted women as they can shape the family to their needs.
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Personal Life - Smart (2014) - fictive kin
Individuals have contrasting ideas as to who they count as family.
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Personal Life - Smart (2007) - web of connectedness
Individuals make choices based on how others may react or be influenced.
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Personal Life - May (2011)
It is more important to study personal life than family life.
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Mitchell and Goody (1997)
Stigma around divorce has reduced since the 1960s.
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Gibson (1994) - secularisation & divorce
The decline of religion has led to widespread liberal attitudes to divorce, rendering it more acceptable to society.
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Fletcher (1966) - functionalist view on divorce
Higher expectations of marriage mean people constantly search for the perfect family, as they place a higher value on marriage. Therefore to find this, divorces will happen.
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Giddens (1992) - individualisation thesis
Individuals put themselves first in a relationship, meaning conflicts of interest lead to divorces more often than not.
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Gibson (1994) - financial implications of marriage
There has been a reduction in marriage tax credits in addition to weddings becoming more expensive. This is putting people off marrying.
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Gibson (2002) - Social Trends Survey on Cohabitation
A survey conducted in 2002 revealed an increase in cohabitation rates.
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Weeks (1999) - same sex relationships
Pre-legalisation of same sex marriage there was an increase in same sex cohabitation. This is due to liberal attitudes towards homosexuality.
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Giddens - 'try before you buy'
People often cohabit before marrying as a 'trial period' to identify if marriage would work.
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Stein (1976) - singlehood satisfaction
Some people are satisfied without a relationship.
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Hall et al (1999) - creative singlehood
Many people choose to live alone.
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Duncan & Phillips (2013)
There is a period of time where people are seeking a partner, which causes singlehood rates to rise.
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MacVarish (2006)
Found that women felt pain and loneliness when living alone.
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Harper (2012)
The education of women has contributed largely to the changes in the position of women.
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McKeown (1976) - living improvements
Higher living standards & conditions have led to reductions in the death rate and increases in life expectancy.
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McKeown (1972) - healthy lifestyles
Reduction in unhealthy habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking, binge eating etc has caused increases in life expectancy and decreases in the death rate.
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Harper (2012) - unhealthy lifestyles
An increase in obesity has replaced smoking/drinking as the main health concern pulling down life expectancy.
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Hirsch (2005) - age pyramids
The traditional age 'pyramid' is being replaced by even-sized blocks.
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Berthoud (2003) - Cultural diversity in Asians
Asian families have significantly different family experiences.
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Berthoud (2003) - Cultural diversity in Afro-carribeans
Afro-carribean families have significantly different family experiences.
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Platt (2009) - inter-ethnic families
Afro-carribean individuals are more likely to inter racially marry.
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Ali (2002) - dual heritage children
The rate of dual-heritage children has increased significantly with immigration rates.
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Parsons (1955) - separate conjugal roles
Separate conjugal roles are in place as biological differences mean women are naturally suited to the nurturing role.
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Bott (1957) - two types of conjugal roles
Segregated conjugal roles (separate roles) and Joint conjugal roles (symmetrical roles).
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Willmott and Young (1973) - march of progress
They see family life as gradually improving for all its members as roles are becoming more equal.
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Oakley (1974) - rejection of Willmott and Young
Oakley found that only 15% of husbands had a high participation in housework, meaning roles are nowhere near equal in families.
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Boutlon (1983)
20% of husbands had a major role in childcare.
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Dunne (1999) - same sex relationship equality
Same sex couples are more likely to achieve equality.
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Dennis & Erdos (2000) - role of fathers
40% of fathers lose touch with their children completely within 2 years of marital breakdown.
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Edgell (1980)
Women had sole responsibility for decisions only in relatively unimportant areas.
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Pahl (2008)
Couples are now more likely to have some independence in financial matters.
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Dobash & Dobash (1979) - three explanations for domestic violence against women
1. History/tradition. 2. Patriarchy. 3. Iideological preparation.
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Elliott (1996) - three criticisms of feminist views
1. Do not take into account same sex relationships. 2. Most men against domestic violence. 3. Does not take into account violence against men.
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Wagg (1992)
Childhood is socially constructed. There is no single fixed childhood.
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Aries (1962)
Children were seen as 'miniature adults' in medieval times.
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Pollock (1983) - criticism of Aries
Aries used a limited set of sources
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Punch (2001)
Once children are 5 in Bolivia, they are expected to take on work responsibilities in the home and community.
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Malinowski (1957)
In the Trobriand Islands, children started having sex at a very young age. Boys: 10-12, girls: 6-8.
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Phillips (1997)
The media is more influential on children as an agent of socialisation than parents.
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Williams (1990)
The media has helped with the transition from children being producers to consumers.
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Pugh (2002)
Children consume various products as compensation for a lack of attention from parents.
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Eevans & Chandler (2006)
The buying and receiving of goods has become a way to measure love.
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Postman (1994) - disappearance of childhood
The distinction between adults and children is disappearing at a dazzling speed.
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Palmer (2006) - toxic childhood
Technological and cultural changes in the past 25 years have damaged children.
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Fletcher - health policies
Health policies mean the family can help each other recover from illness quickly.
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Drew - gender regimes
Some countries have 'familistic' (traditional) and 'individualistic' (equality based) gender regimes.
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Donzelot (1977) - policing the family
Social policies are ways of the state controlling the family.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Claimed it was universal.


Functionalism - G.P. Murdock (1949) - nuclear family

Card 3


Functional fit theory - family adapts to fit the functional prerequisites (needs) of society.


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Primary socialisation & stabilisation of adult personalities.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


Warm bath theory - immersion in family life relieves the pressures & frustrations from work & society.


Preview of the back of card 5
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