Functionalism in the family

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What are the four functions that Murdock says only the family can perform?
Sexual, reproductive, economic and educational
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Explain the sexual function
People are sexually fulfilled by their partners and expectations of monogamous relationships keep society stable
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Explain the reproductive function
People reproduce in families. They have kids which are essential to the survival of mankind.
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Explain the economic function
In the past the family was a unit of production, today it's a unit of consumption - buying goods + services for the family
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Explain the educational function
The family is an agency of primary socialisation, passing on shared norms and values
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Explain Parson's warm bath theory
Women should act as a metaphorical warm bath, wecoming her husband home after a hard day at work and looking after his needs
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Who doesn't agree with this warm bath theory?
Marxists and feminists as they believe that it is all about confluent love now
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What are Parsons basic and irreducible functions?
The primary socialisation of children - passion on shared norms and values and appropiate gender roles. The stabilisation of adult personalities - being supportive to adult family members and both genders supporting eachother.
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What is a criticism of these basic and irreducible functions?
Other types of families can provie these functions. Women can support themselves and primary socialisation varies across families and includes nursery school and media influences
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Why does Parsons think that the nuclear family is 'best fit' for society?
It allows for geographic mobility ( in industrial societies it wasbetter to be geographically mobile to be able to move around to places where theres employment opportunites) and social solidarity (family life can also give sense of solidarity)
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What are the two fundamental needs for society performed by family members?
Instrumental - practical, non-emotional needs of society and expressive - society needs people to feel emotionally secure and looked after
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What is the consensus theory?
Family is beneficial for society.
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What is the organic analogy?
Family is the heart of society. It is needed and you can't live without it.
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What do functionalists tend to stress?
The universality of family in all known societies, the necessity of distinct conjugal roles and the importance of the nuclear family in society to fulfil these functions
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Card 2


Explain the sexual function


People are sexually fulfilled by their partners and expectations of monogamous relationships keep society stable

Card 3


Explain the reproductive function


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Card 4


Explain the economic function


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Card 5


Explain the educational function


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