sociology- family and
1 functionalist view of family:
1.1 1) functionalists regard society as a system made up of
key institutions which depend on each other and
perform functions to meet the needs of the society. it is
based on consensus which is shared values that are
transmitted through socialisation to the next
generation. one way of socialisation is through the
family as it assists with social order within society and
therefore is viewed positively.
1.1.1 Murdock- the family structure.
184.108.40.206 2) Murdock was a functionalist who looked at
family structures amongst societies and
argued that family was universal and
performed four essential functions of the
220.127.116.11.1 sexual function- provides and satisfies
the sex drive with the same partner which
18.104.22.168.2 reproductive function- reproduces
next generation to continue the
22.214.171.124.3 socialisation of children- so norms
and values are passed on.
126.96.36.199.4 economic functions- provides food and shelter
188.8.131.52.5 criticisms of Murdock:
184.108.40.206.5.1 however, Murdock ignores
conflict and exploitation which is
frequently evident in families.
220.127.116.11.5.2 many of these functions can be performed
by other institutions or non nuclear family
18.104.22.168.5.3 Marxists argue that family meets the
needs of capitalism rather than
members of society.
22.214.171.124.5.4 feminists see the family as serving the needs of
men and oppressing woman.
1.2 parsons- fit thesis:
1.2.1 structure and function of the family
will fit the needs of the society
1.2.2 pre industrial society- the
extended family- at least three
generations living under the
126.96.36.199 based on agrarian cultures where
larger families lived and worked
together in the same location on
land of farming communities.
188.8.131.52.1 changed after industrialisation of society.
1.2.3 industrial society- the nuclear family.
184.108.40.206 a geographical mobile workforce: nuclear family serves the
needs of economy as they are smaller so they can move
around to take on work.
220.127.116.11 a socially mobile workforce- more technological
developments so increasing number of important
positions. status is achieved in modern society
rather than ascribed like in extended family. the
modern nuclear family leaves the extended family
which avoids conflict and is better equipped than
extended family so it can meet industrial needs. the
nuclear family does not have any direct obligations
or responsibilities towards extended families.
1.2.4 the family is characterised by a natural division of labour. the man has an
instrumental role which involves being responsible for economic welfare of
family and the woman plays an expressive role which involves being
responsible for the socialisation od children and the emotional needs of the
18.104.22.168 the family has two essential functions- primary
socialisation of children as they learn the
norms and values of the society they live in. it
also stabilises adult personalities as it provides
a place where they can release and express
their tensions after facing society.
1.2.5 criticisms of parsons-
22.214.171.124 was extended family dominant in pre industrial society? young and
willmot found parents and children worked together as a family unit in
small cottage industries such as weaving,
126.96.36.199 it is not necessary that the men have to be the breadwinner
ror the woman have to play the emotional role as many men
can also play the emotional role (lone parent families) and
women can be breadwinners.
1.3 criticisms- functionalists have
a too over consensual view of
the family which ignore the
conflict and other problems in
1.3.1 Marxist view the family as an instrument of the ruling
class and raising the future workforce with right set of
values which will ensure social reproduction. it meets the
needs of capitalism and only benefits the ruling class as
socialisation through family teaches children to be obedient
and willing workers despite living in an unequal society.
1.3.2 it is too deterministic as is assumes all
individuals are passive and therefore
blindly adopt the society's values and
norms from parents however this isn't
always the case.
2 Marxist view of the
2.1 1) all key institutions such as family, education, media and
religion work together to serve the interest of capitalism
and ruling class instead of meeting the needs of individual
members within the society. the family performs the
function of ideological control- convincing the mass
individuals that the unequal system is inevitable.
2.1.1 Engels- inheritance of property.
188.8.131.52 Engels- the economic production determines the structure
of the family. the emergence of private property means that
men have to be certain about the paternity of the child ao
they can pass on their property (inheritance) therefore the
patriarchal monogamous nuclear family
184.108.40.206.1 women's sexuality was controlled by men
and women became a mere instrument In
the production of children.
220.127.116.11 early classless societies were forms of primitive
communism as there was no private property
however society changed with the emergence of
capitalism with a system of private ownership.
2.1.2 zaretsky: family is an illusion.
18.104.22.168 the family is a 'haven' from the brutal and exploitative
world of capitalism were members can be themselves
and enjoy a private life.
22.214.171.124 however, this is an illusion as it cannot
meet the pressures of being the only refuge
in a brutal society.
126.96.36.199 the family is a unit of
consumption of capitalist goods
2.2 Althusser- ideological state apparatus
2.2.1 family is a key institution which is part of the ISA to promote
capitalism as equal to all. encourages conformity and
obedience to capitalism as it is an agent of social control.
2.2.2 family socialises children into accepting
hierarchy and inequality as inevitable.
2.3.1 Working class families are encouraged to pursue
false needs in terms of the way capitalist
consumerism bombards families with adverts selling
latest consumer products. families are encouraged
to judge themselves and others based on
2.3.2 children fall under peer pressure
and pester parents to make
2.4 criticisms of Marxist view:
2.4.1 Marxists assume that the
nuclear family is the dominant
family form in modern society.
2.4.2 feminist reject the view of
capitialism and believes that
family serves the interests of
men rather than capitalism.
2.4.3 functionalists say Marxists ignore the
positive benefits of the family in terms
of intimacy and support it offers the
3 the new right
3.1 believe the family is a self reliant structure rather than
dependence on the state. the father has the breadwinning role and
the mother has the emotional responsibilities in a family unit
based on marriage.
3.2 the new right call for a return to family values
based on traditional family structure.
3.3 modern state has undermined role of
family and taken away responsibilities of
family members and so a culture of
welfare dependency has emerged.
3.3.1 they argue to cut
benefits which would
encourage individuals to
work and be more
3.4 unmarried and single mothers have increased because state is
willing to support them with benefits and provision of council
3.5 murray- new right thinker believes that there is an underclass in
society that have a deviant lifestyle and culture who are
unemployed and welfare dependent including high rates of lone
parents, criminality and unemployment.
4 feminism: emphasis the extent to which society
is in several ways patriarchal and society is
dominated by men who oppress and exploit
4.1 first wave of feminism- led by middle class women which resulted in: higher
education for women. participation in exams, access to professions and
improvements in divorced women rights.
4.2 second wave- equal pay for equal work, equal
opportunities for education, free contraception
and abortion demand.
4.3 like Marxists, feminists have a critical view
of the family in relation to the gender
inequality women experience in the family
4.4 liberal feminism
4.4.1 reform in terms of campaigning against gender
inequality such as the sex Discrimination and equal
pay act which reflects changes in social attitudes in
terms of gender relations- there is now more equality for women.
4.4.2 criticisms: - other feminists such as
Marxists and radicals have criticised
the liberal feminist reliance on reform.
4.5 Marxist feminism-
4.5.1 the main cause for women's oppression is
capitalism. women produce, maintain and
service the work force for capitalism as a
form of unpaid domestic labour.
188.8.131.52 Breugal- women reproduce next
generation of workers for the
184.108.40.206.1 Marxists argue a
will bring equality
220.127.116.11 women are a reserve army of labour
exploited within capitalist society.
18.104.22.168 women absorb anger as they take up
anger and frustration of their
husbands who work in the capitalist
22.214.171.124 criticisms- assumes male oppression and patriarchy will disappear
with emergence of socialist society. radicals argue that patriarchy will
exist unless male power is challenged.
4.6 radical feminism:
4.6.1 all societies are based on patriarchy and male oppression of women needs to
be challenged. men are seen as the enemy who exploit women through unpaid
labour and sexual services.
4.6.2 women need to overturn
this and practise separatism
and act independently.
4.6.3 practise political lesbianism.
4.6.4 criticism- sommerville argues that radicals fail to recognise
the gains women have made in recent times in terms of jobs,
divorce, marriage, cohabitation. heterosexual attraction will
rule out separatism and disappearance of nuclear family.
4.7 difference feminism-
4.7.1 argue that other feminists assume
most women live in nuclear
families and share common life
126.96.36.199 however, it is wrong to generalise like this as
different women (class, sexuality and ethnicity)
may have different experiences in family and
society in general.