What are the three main theories?
Functionalist, Marxist and Feminist.
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What do functionalists study?
Society and individuals.
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What does the Theory of Functional Fit mean?
As society has evolved, the structure of the family has changed to meet the needs of society.
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Why do functionalists believe the most common family type is the nuclear family?
Because it is small and mobile so it is able to move around for work. It has no emotional ties with the extended family.
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What 4 basic functions did Murdock argue the family has?
Reproductive, sexual, primary socialisation and supportive.
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Why does Murdock believe sex is a basic function of the family?
Because it is important for couples to keep each other sexually satisfied because partners are less likely to cheat meaning there is less chance of a family breakdown.
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Why does Murdock believe reproducing is a basic function of the family?
It is important for families to reproduce new members so there is a new generation for society.
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Why does Murdock believe primary socialisation is a basic function of the family?
Children must be taught the norms and values of society and their culture because a consensus of values is important to keep society in a state of equilibrium.
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Why does Murdock believe support is a basic function of the family?
Because people have responsibilities for their family as they may need support financially or emotionally.
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What does Talcott Parsons believe?
He believes that some of the functions of the family have been eroded and have been taken over by the state.
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What functions does Parsons still believe the family preforms?
The stabilisation of adult personalities and socialisation.
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What is the stabilisation of adult personalities?
Parsons believes that men and woman have natural roles which they preform in the family, leading to stabilisation of adult personalities. Men play instrumental role and women play expressive role. They act as a good role model for their children.
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What is the warm bath theory?
It links to Parsons theory. If the woman plays the expressive role then the home will be a loving environment which will soothe away the stresses and pressures of everyday life for all family members.
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What is primary socialisation?
Parsons agrees with Murdock that primaru socialisation is an important function. Children must be socialised into the norms and values of wider society so society remains in a state of equilibrium.
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What did Fletcher believe?
He disagreed with Parsons theory that family's functions have been eroded. He argues that in a modern society, with all the stresses and pressures, the family is now more important and functional than ever.
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Why did people traditionally have children?
Having children was often seen as the main reason for marriage. It means passing down titles, property and providing society with a future workforce.
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How has this changed?
Since the 1970's, there has been a steady increase in the reproduction of children and sexual relations outside of marriage.
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What was work and education like traditionally?
The family was a unit of production with work being carried out in the home. Children would learn skills needed to work from their parents and follow them in their occupations.
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How has this changed?
Since the Industrial Revolution has moved outside of the home, families have become units of consumption rather than production. The skills needed are taught through education in schools and work. There is a variety of jobs to choose from.
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What was family like traditionally?
The family and kinship networks traditionally cared for dependent children and relied on extended family members.
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How has this changed?
The modern family is less dependent on the extended family and state welfare services such as NHS, Social Services and free education all help parents look after their children.
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Who did the family provide help for?
Sick, elderly and unemployed members of their family.
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How has this changed?
The care is now shared by government agencies and a range of benefits making family members less dependent upon their relatives.
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How did the working class families teach their children?
They taught them informally but a lot of them were illiterate and innumerate.
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How has this changed?
Since the introduction of compulsory and free education (1880) education is primarily the responsibility of the state although the family should support their children to succeed.
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What did Vogel and Bell study?
They're the only ones to study the dysfunctions of the family.
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What do they believe?
Vogel and Bell believe that family members often target one person who takes the blame for all the family problems. Although acting as a scapegoat is dysfunctional for one member of the family, it is functional for the rest.
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What did Leach and Laing believe?
They agree with Vogel and Bell that some children within the family act as a scapegoat and this can prove to be functional for the rest of the family. They believe scapegoating is a factor in the development of schizophrenia in young adults.
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What are the critisisms of the Functionalist Theories of the Family?
It is argued that functionalists only acknowledge the positive functions of the family. They have a too idealistic view of what the family is like. They dont look at the dysfunctions like child abuse and neglect etc.
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What are feminists critisisms of the Functionalist Theories of the Family?
They criticize Parsons idea that gender roles are natural. They believe these roles are learnt and therefore a product of nurture not nature.
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Why do modern psychologists criticize Leich and Lang theory of scapegoating?
They see it as biological not sociological.
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Why is Vogel and Bell criticized?
Because it can cause severe emotional problems for the scapegoating person.
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What percentage of children in the UK experience some form of abuse for a parent of other family member during their childhood?
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What percentage of women experience physical abuse from a female partner?
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What percentage of men are physically abused?
35% but a lot go unreported.
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How many children live in poverty?
400,000,000 (400 million).
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What does the Marxist theory focus on the most?
How the family functions meet the needs of capitalism and how this exploits and oppresses individuals.
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What did Engels study?
He examined how the family has developed throughout history.
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What did he find out?
Men and women roamed around in promiscuous groups and had several partners at once. Only women could be sure who their children were so therefore tools and weapons got passed down the female line (matrelineal).
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What were his views?
He believed capitalist and men invented monogamous marriage and family life to suit their own needs. This is so they could control the sexual behavior of women and ensure the paternity of their children (property passed down male line)/
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What does Zaretsky believe?
That the family and monogamous marriage fulfil certain requirements of capitalism.
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How do family and marriage fit into the needs of capitalism?
Families produce future workers to work in the capitalist system and families socialise their children into capitalist ideology.
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How do capitalists profit from families?
By expecting them to work to survive, paying them too little money for their labour so they make a profit from them. Also by making a profit out of what workers spend or consume in order to live (exploitation).
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What is the 'cereal package family'?
The 'ideal image' of the nuclear family used to advertise consumer goods.
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What do Marxist feminists believe?
That capitalism benefits from families and believe the family oppresses individuals.
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What did Benson believe?
That women produce the future factory fodder at little or no cost to the capitalist system. They also look after the current factory fodder (their husbands) and the unpaid domestic housework women preform props up the capitalist system.
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What did Ansley believe?
Women prevent men from revolting against capitalism.They become the responsibility of men therefore men cant revolt because they have a family to provide for.Women also act as a buffer between men and work, soaking up the frustration of exploitation.
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What is Ansley's quote about women roles?
'When women play their traditional roles of takers of ****, they act as a sponge, soaking up the legitimate frustration and revolutionary ire, that men feel against the capitalist system. Bosses can therefore rest easy in their beds'.
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What does Ansely argue?
That capitalist societies encourage marriage and having children because fathers with children would have to work and this limits their bargaining powers with bosses.
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What do Marxist and Marxist Feminists both agree on?
That a capitalist institution oppresses both men and women and believe if marriage was abolished, men and women would become equal.
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What are other feminist theories of the family?
Marriage and family are male dominated where women make the major contributions but men benefit the most. Marriage makes women financially dependent on men as it is women who give up their careers. Men control the key areas of family life.
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What are some criticisms of the Marxist/Marxist Feminists theories of the family?
They presume men and women are unequal and focus on these inequalities but some families they are equal and share decision making. Some women chose to give up work for children. Women can be the abuser in a relationship.
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Card 2


What do functionalists study?


Society and individuals.

Card 3


What does the Theory of Functional Fit mean?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Why do functionalists believe the most common family type is the nuclear family?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What 4 basic functions did Murdock argue the family has?


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