What do Marxists believe? Marxism is a conflict theory which sees all society’s institutions, such as the education system, the media, religion and the state, as helping to maintain class inequality and capitalism. For Marxists, therefore, the functions of the family are performed solely for the benefit of the capitalist system. This view contrasts sharply with the functionalist view that the family benefits both society as a whole and the individual members of the family.
Women are dually oppressed by patriarchy and capitalist ideology. Both systems oppress women for the benefit of men. Families within capitalism require women to be a source of unpaid domestic work to ensure that the man can go to work. Women are also exploited in that they are expected to provide outlets for all the frustration and anger that their husbands experience at work and therefore prevent them from rebelling against their employers. Silvia Federici (2012) argues that many women are now forced into productive and reproductive labour, resulting in a “double day”.
The family creates and perpetuates capitalist ideology so that the needs of the economy can be met. This theory highlights the role of the family in relation to other institutions such as education and the economy.
Class may be less relevant to our understanding of the family today while other factors may now be more relevant, for example, ethnicity.
This perspective does not take into account the way that people today may have greater agency in deciding how they themselves choose to construct their family life.
What does the New Right believe?
The New Right believes that the nuclear family should be traditional and conservative. Men and women should take conventional roles in the family, with the woman being responsible for childcare and housework while the man should be the breadwinner. The family is responsible for the socialisation of children and if it breaks down, this could be at risk. The New Right believes that children need two parents in order for their upbringing to be successful. Without strong male role models (usually the result of single parenting), the result can be delinquency and antisocial behaviour. New Right stress the importance of individuals taking responsibility for their children. They believe that the government (state) should not be responsible for caring for children for example by providing benefits. This is because they suggest this caring governmental attitude results in lazy people, known as welfare dependency (Murray 1984).
What the theorists say and Evaluation.
Use this plan for your essay (take a look at the exemplar essay’s in the shop). AO2 is in the left column and AO3 is in the right and the bottom box.
What do Feminists believe?
Feminists take a critical view of the family, arguing that it oppresses women and reproduces patriarchy. As such, they have focused on the unequal division of domestic labour and domestic violence against women. They do not regard gender inequality as natural or inevitable, but as something created by society. What the theorists say and Evaluation.
Use this plan for your essay (take a look at the exemplar essay’s in the shop). AO2 is in the left collum and AO3 is in the right and the bottom box.
To Postmodernists, the modern world is changing and becoming less structured. Its rules, norms and values are changing and so too are the people. This has changed the shape and nature of the family making it more fragmented and varied. Think about the different types of family structures e.g. Beanpole…
What Postmodernists believe?
Postmodern society has two key characteristics 1. Diversity and fragmentation Thinking about migration and the different types of cultures in the UK, cultural hybridity is a major side effect. This has resulted in new types of families and beliefs as well as modifying existing values and norms of the UK. 2. Rapid social change Thinking less about the structure of the family and more about the structure of a range of linked families such as cousins, aunties, uncles. Historically, the greater family has always stayed close together, however, with the 21st century and the rise of technology, this has changed and families have dissipated location wise. This again has shaped the way the family is structured on many levels.
What the theorists say?
Stacey (1998) “The Divorce-Extended Family”
Judith Stacey (remember you only need to include the last name of the theorist in your exam) states that women are key for changing the family in today’s world. This was discovered through a study in Silicon Valley, California. Women were moving away from traditional roles giving them greater opportunity to follow their own paths.
Hareven (1978) “Life Course Analysis” Tamara Hareven emphasises that sociologists should be concerned more with an interpretivist approach (looking at individuals rather than society as a whole) when assessing family patterns. Individuals can always make choices which society cannot always dictate, e.g. a couple might not be able to have children.
Evaluation of Postmodernism
Late-Modernists such as Anthony Giddens suggest that even though people have more freedom, there is a still a structure which shapes people’s decisions
Contemporary Feminists disagree with Postmodernism, pointing out that in most cases traditional gender roles which disadvantage women remain the norm.
What do Functionalists believe?
Functionalists see the family as a tool. Its purpose is to socialise children for their role in society, which is a consensus concept. Durkheim also argues that the family plays an important role in developing social solidarity (where people feel that they are bound together as part of a group) and a collective conscience (where people have a strong sense of being part of society). Parson’s (1951) goes a step further in stating that it is not just generalised socialisation which the family produces, but more. He focuses on primary socialisation, where children are encouraged to internalise the norms and values of society; the second role is stabilisation of adult personalities.
Functionalists believe that the family is a source of support for parents and children alike. There is a clear disagreement to Feminism, as Functionalists believe that roles within the family e.g. Breadwinner, are natural and not suppressive. Clearly functionalists take a very positive view of family life, which has been criticised for ignoring problems that occur within families, such as domestic violence, abuse and conflict. Many sociologists argue that this theory is no longer applicable to contemporary society due to the changes in family structure, roles and relationships. Feminists are critical of the assumptions that functionalists often make with regards to women being ‘naturally’ predisposed to taking the caring, housewife role