Sociology - Family

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Murdock 1949
Functionalist, studied 250 societies, said the family is universal
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Murdock's definition of the family
"A social group characterised by common residence, economic cooperation & reproduction, contains adults of both sexes - at least 2 maintain a socially approved sexual relationship & 1 or more children own or adopted of the sexually cohabiting adults"
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Criticisms of Murdock's definition
Family diversity: lone-parent, gay/lesbian etc.
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Marriage
Describes the way different societies legitimise mate selection
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Monogamy
1 husband married to 1 wife (most societies)
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Polygyny
1 husband with more than 1 wife
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Polyandry
1 wife with more than 1 husband
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Family
A group of people whom may be biologically related - basic unit of social organisation
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Household
An individual or group of people who share a home and some meals - not all households are families
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Kinship
A sense of duty we feel towards family members
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Nuclear Family
Also known as cereal packet; this is the traditional family type containing 2 generations (parents and children), living in same household, married heterosexual couple w/ traditional gender roles
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Murdock claimed that the nuclear family...
is an important social institution and plays a vital role in the maintenance of society
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Functionalists
Family = positive, society is like the human body - made up of specialist parts, structuralist theory, consensus theory
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Murdock's 4 functions of the family
Educational (primary socialisation), sexual (monogamous heterosexual relationship), economic (financial support - gender roles), reproduction (adults have offspring)
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Parsons & his 2 functions of the family
Many of the families functions = taken over (e.g. welfare/benefits) but still performs 2 irreducible functions: primary socialisation of children and stabilisation of adult personalities (warm bath theory)
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Criticisms of the functionalists
Only consider the postive and ignore the negative side of the family, ignore family diversity, viewed as sexist
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The New Right
Family = cornerstone of society, the nuclear family is the ideal type, concerned about the increase in family diversity, divorce rate and cohabitation
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The New Right believe there has been an increase in family diversity (etc.) because...
there has been a breakdown of traditional values, overgenerous benefits, influence of feminism and marxism, sexual permissiveness and increase in the tolerance of homosexuality
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Criticisms of The New Right
They blame the victims, do not consider family diversity and are 'harking back to a mythical golden age' (old fashioned)
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David Cameron's quote about runaway fathers:
"Runaway fathers should be looked at like drink drivers and need the message rammed home to them that what they are doing is wrong - leaving mothers to fend for themselves is simply unacceptable"
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John Redwood MP said...
"The natural state should be 2 adult families caring for children"
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Social Regulation
Things people do in order to maintain social order e.g. primary socialisation of children (what is right or wrong)
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Social Integration
Things done to make people feel they belong to a group/society e.g. stabilisation of adult personalities (feeling wanted etc)
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Why are women most likely to do housework and child-rearing roles?
Traditional values/gender roles - women are housewives and care for children, the nuclear family, generally more caring and have a maternal instinct
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This can be viewed as exploitative because...
Sexist - women are prevented from working, feminists say women work but get unpaid (triple shift)
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Triple shift
This includes, paid work, housework as well as emotional work
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Marxism
Family reproduces unequal relationships, dampens social uprising, teaches members to submit to capitalist interests (a tool) serves bourgeoisie, superstructure serving the economy, priv. property (marriage), conditions children to accept exploitation
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Criticisms of Marxism
Ignore the positives of the family, only consider negative, ignore other reasons for marriage
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Feminism
Family = main site where women are oppressed by men, most societies = patriarchal, women = instrumental in maintenance of capitalism - social reproduction of labour power, women unpaid for domestic work (helps economy), emotional support system
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Criticisms of Feminism
Ignores positive aspects, assumes women do not enjoy raising family etc., ignores developments towards equality and assumes men are passive victims of men and capitalists
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R.D Laing (pheneomenological psychiatrist - studied interactions between individual family members, looked at meaning behind social action)
Believed family = restrictive - causing damage to individuality, relationships = confused (love, anger, jealousy), tensions passed to offspring & released in diff ways - violence, mental disturbance
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Edmund Leach (wrote a runaway world in 1987)
Argued nuclear family = isolated from kin & wider community, the family looks inward on itself , privacy is a source of fear & violence
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Interactionists
Believe the family performs important social functions
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David Clark (1991) different types of marriages:
Drifting - no longterm plans, surfacing - at least 1 remarried so complicated relationship (ex spouses, step children), establishing - future plans (save £), struggling - usually suffer financially (unemployment or housing problems)
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Berger & Kellner 1964 views on marriage
Individuals need to create own sense of order, marriage = important - helps self construction of identity & personal reality e.g. general convo - help create joint perspectives, marriage = socialise couple
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The Functionalists perspective on housework
Parsons - females suit expressive role (justifies gender division of labour), Murdock - women lack physical strength for other practical tasks, housework = part of caring role, division of labour = natural, ensures family stays contented & stable
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The Marxists perspective on housework
Capitalists benefit from division of labour - work of housewife costs nothing, men free to concentrate on work thus increasing profits of employer, women = reserved army of labour, women manage budgets
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The Feminists perspective on housework
"women provide unpaid services for men: sexual partner & children", oppresses women, if enjoy role = falsely conscious, acceptance shows ruling classes powers of persuasion, stereotypical roles
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Approximately how many families are there in the UK?
16 million
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How many families in the UK are headed by a married couple?
4/5
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How many are in cohabiting relationship and why is there a difference depending on age?
1 in 10, in younger = 1 in 5 due to different traditions and values, cohabitation seen as 'trial run'
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How many marriages were there in the UK in 2012?
262,240 (just under 270,00)
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What is the average age of first marriage in men and women?
M = 31, W = 29
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How many civil partnerships were there in 2006?
100,000
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When did the civil partnerships act come into force?
5/12/05
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Cohabitation
When two people who are not married live together in an emotionally and/or sexually intimate relationship on a long-term or permanent basis
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How many births are outside marriages?
Over 1/3
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Divorce
is the termination of a marital union, the canceling and/or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage
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Divorce Legislation - The Divorce Reform Act
1969, introduced the concept of irretrievable breakdown of marriage - came into effect in 1971
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Robert & Rapoport 1982 - new era of choice and diversity in family life
Organisational diversity = variations in family, cultural diversity = differences in lifestyles of different ethnic bg, class differences = m.c & w.c (diff relationships & socialisation), lifecycle = differences caused by stages
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Robert & Rapoport 1982 - the cohort
A period where the family have passed through the lifecycle of the family. this affects life experiences
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Eversley & Bonnerjea
studied the relationship between locality & family type - came up with 6 categories inc. sunbelt areas, geriatric wards, older declining industrial areas, newly declining industrial areas, truly rural areas & inner cities
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Sunbelt Areas
Well off areas in the SOuth and South-East of England - mainly consisting of family builders - 2 parent home owners
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Geriatric Wards
Coastal areas in England & Wales (e.g. Brighton & Pembrokeshire) - tend to have high numbers of retired people in 1 or 2 person households as not many jobs are here and it is quiet and relaxed
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Older Declining Industrial Areas
Old coal, iron, ship building, textiles, steel industries (e.g. Sheffield & Newcastle) - older people live here in patriarchal family structures with strong community social networks
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Newly Declining Industrial Areas
(e.g. West Midlands) - contain a mix of people - some relatively prosperous areas with high numbers of nuclear families and others less prosperous with high numbers of family diversity
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Truly Rural Areas
(e.g. Yorkshire & Shropshire) - traditionally consists of extended family structures centered on agricultural industry
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Inner Cities
(e.g. London & Manchester) - have high numbers than average of lone parent families and ethnic minorities
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Reasons for cultural differences:
cultural diversity, different values and traditions, trend, different religious beliefs
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Ethnicity & Family Diversity studies: Ballard (South Asian families in South Asia & Britain)
features in common = live & work together in multi-generation households, in Britain - women more likely to work & expect independence from kin & extender kinship = less important
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Ethnicity & Family Diversity studies: Bhatti (ethnographic study on Bangladeshi families)
Interviews - shown emphasis on loyalty within family and traditional practices related to marriage
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Ethnicity & Family Diversity studies: Berthound & Beishon (PSI national survey)
Family patterns change due to divorce & lone parents, high proportion of couples cohabit
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Ethnicity & Family Diversity studies: Driver
Studied a West Indian family where husband lost job so wife did the housework and was the breadwinner
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Ethnicity & Family Diversity studies: Chamberlain (Caribbean families)
Siblings and uncles/aunts = highly important, siblings play a big part in upbringing of children
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Ethnicity & Family Diversity studies: Reynolds (Black Caribbean Families in Caribbean & Britain)
Within - diversity & fluidity, family patterns varied between different Caribbean islands, in Britain = visiting relationships
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Ethnicity & Family Diversity studies: Dench et al (surveys - old East-End)
799 & seperate sample of Bangladeshi - in old East-End family gave people support & security, Bangladeshi = 4 in 1 person households due to divorce & seperation being low & widows live w/ children, religious obligations (marriage), extended = 61%
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Card 2

Front

"A social group characterised by common residence, economic cooperation & reproduction, contains adults of both sexes - at least 2 maintain a socially approved sexual relationship & 1 or more children own or adopted of the sexually cohabiting adults"

Back

Murdock's definition of the family

Card 3

Front

Family diversity: lone-parent, gay/lesbian etc.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Describes the way different societies legitimise mate selection

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

1 husband married to 1 wife (most societies)

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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