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The Sociological View on Femist

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SCLY 1: Families and Households
Revision Notes 2011-12

By the end of this unit you should be able to

* answer any question on families and households !

Key definitions:

A family is usually a group of people related by marriage or blood.

A household is a person living alone or a group of people living together who may or may not be related.

Theories of the family

From the specification:

The relationship of the family to the social structure and social change

* Functionalist views: the importance of the nuclear family, the universality of the family, changing functions, how the nuclear family ‘fits’ modern society. * Marxist views: the family as part of the ideological state apparatus, as an agent of social control. * Feminist views: patriarchy; liberal, radical and Marxist feminism.

Consensus/Positive views of the family  | Conflict/critical views of the family | * Functionalist theories: the family performs positive functions for individuals and society * New Right theories: the family is the cornerstone of society, but it is under threat | * Marxist theories: the family provides important functions for capitalism * Feminist theories: the family reinforces gender inequality and patriarchy |

Functionalist theories

GP Murdock | Evaluation | Murdock argues that the family is a universal institution (it exists everywhere) that performs four major functions: * Stable satisfaction of the sex drive with the same partner, preventing the social disruption caused by sexual ‘free-for-all’. * Reproduction of the next generation, without which society would not be able to continue. * Socialisation of the young into society’s shared norms and values. * Meeting its members’ economic needs, such as shelter and food. * | However, other sociologists have criticised his functionalist approach. Marxists and Feminists reject...

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