Functionalism. To functionalists the family is at the heart of society and consequently they promote its value at every opportunity The New Right views of modern times are really neo-functionalism. Functionalism. Parsons (1902-79) - functions of the family reproduction
The isolated and ‘private’ nuclear family
The functionalist view suggests that the nuclear family has become
·Socially isolated from extended kin
·More reliant on the Welfare State
·Geographically separated from wider kin
·More reliant on State nurseries etc
The family is self-contained, inward looking with little contact with neighbours and community. Home leisure via TV, Video, Internet etc etc have made us more home-centred
"The natural state should be the 2 adult family caring for their children"
John Redwood 1993
The traditional 2 parent family is best’
Michael Howard 1993
Marxists put the economic above all else and ignore the good things about family life.
Some researchers point to the universality of the nuclear family (i.i. it is found everywhere) as proof of its popularity
Russia in 1917 and Cambodia in 1975 tried to get rid of the family but failed.
Feminism has argued that women have suffered prejudice and discrimination simply because of their gender. Women need to be free from these injustices of patriarchy and particularly in the sphere of family, home and work.
However, not all feminists sing from the same hymn sheet and 5 main flavours of feminism are presented here
Liberal feminists believe that neither males nor females benefit from the gender inequalities in our society. They advocate change through legislation and education
Black feminists feel that other feminist ‘flavours’ have ignored the ethnic differences that exist between women.
Why do African-Caribbean women have such a high rate of single parenting, why are Asian families more patriarchal.?
Plus there are many varied cultural and religious issues faced by women of colour
Mansfield & Collard 1988
used in-depth interviews to look at the process of becoming a married couple
1. Both partners usually worked (paid employment) but the female did most housework.
2. Husband’s work was given greater importance.
3. There was a ‘symmetrical understanding’ - both partners expected a sharing of household responsibilities.
Beck 1992offers 5 key turning points in family relations
1. Increased life expectancy - women have more years not childbearing.
2. Restructured Housework - new labour saving technology
3. Birth Control -plan kids around jobs etc.
4. Rising Divorce - independent earning for women becomes more important
5. Equal Educational Opportunities - particularly for women
As a result women have become ‘liberated’ from traditional controls