Theoretical Views of the Family
Theoretical Views of the Family
Reproducing the Workforce- by the working class family reproducing children, children are the next workers in line to capitalist society.
'Safe Haven' for alienated workers. Due to capitalist society, the workplace environment changed from its norm, before it was families working together on the land. Now its people working with people they have no emotional connection to. Therefore this makes the men feel alienated and this makes a man feel angry about working. The 'safe haven' is the wife and children who calm the husband down from work so he can go back in the next day. However, due to the frustration of the man taking it home, it could lead to domestic violence.
Unit of consumption- also known as the cereal packet family. Buying and using the products of capitalism, so that the employers, the capitalists can make a profit and grow rich off the survival of the working class.
Marxists are conflict theorists who see the family functioning not for society but for capitalism. Marxists believe that the middle class (bourgeoisie) exploit the working class (proletariat) and that the family is one institution that helps this.
Criticisms- Its a biased theory as it only sees capitalism as a bad system and that the working class don't benefit at all. But if that were true social class mobility wouldn't be a thing today.
It only sees the factor of the economy that shapes society whereas many other theorists show that there are many factors that do this.
Ideological function- Similar to primary socialisation, children are taught the norms, values and behaviours of a capital society. They get taught about its social class hierarchy and how they need to be obedient to its hierarchy.
Engels believe that the introduction of marriage was due to the exploitation of capitalism. Marriage was invented to secure middle class men's fortunes and that it would be passed down to their heirs. Therefore, this keeps the rich, rich with their property in the family and the working class still poor.
4 functions of the family. Should be noted that these functions can only be carried out in a traditional nuclear family. Therefore, Murdock sees other types of families (such as single-parent families) as dysfunctional.
Sexual- Love between the parents creates stability within the home.
Reproductive- Creating the next generation of people for society.
Economic- Providing for the family by the father making money to support the family.
Educational- Primary socialisation, this is the parents teaching their children about the values and norms of society so they understand it when they're older.
2 functions of the family
Primary socialisation- Parents teach their children in language, culture and social behaviours, values and norms in society. Families are factories producing human personalities.
The Stabilisation of Adult Personalities (SOAP)- The family helps stabilise personalities by the sexual division of labour in the family.
Women provide the expressive role where they stay at home, cook, clean, look after children and keep security of the home. They also support their husbands who play the instrumental role, as they are the earner of the family. They stabilise the husbands tension from work by love and understanding. (Theory is also known as 'the warm bath theory'
Functionalists see the family as an institution of happiness where everyone has a specific role to play In the family. Both functionalists believe in certain functions of the family that help benefit society as a whole.
Criticisms- They fail to recognise that some of these functions within the family can be achieved through external means- such as affairs (SOAP, sexual function) and babysitters (primary socialisation) and government benefits (economic function)
Parsons only studied middle class American families and therefore limits his research population.
Families are not always harmonious.
Parsons warm bath theory is sexist, especially in the society we live in today with joint conjugal role families.
Marxist feminists, just like Marxists see family as an institution to benefit the middle class in a capitalist society. But they see it as a benefit to male middle class in a patriarchal society.
Barrett and McIntosh
Reproducing the workforce- Women are expected to reproduce the labour force and to teach their children to accept capitalism as a fair society.
Safety Valve- This is for women to be expected as a cushion for the husband when he comes stressed from alienated capitalist work. This can lead to domestic violence.
Reserve army of labour- Women act as a temporary employee to capitalism as they can work for seasonal times that work with the schedule of being a mother. So for instance, women may be employed for the Christmas holiday and then be no longer needed after.
Radical feminism see the family as a way to benefit male patriarchy within a society.
Delphy and Leonard
By women being socialised into being the expressive role of the family, they become subordinate to men in all social situations. Therefore they are expected to clean, cook, look after the children and keep the house secure. They are also expected to provide sex for the man anytime he wants it.
They are also expected for men to abuse them through domestic violence as they are the instrumental role in the family and they need to let off steam.
Criticisms- Both feminist theories don't see any positives within the family. They don't recognise the march of progress for women within the family and that some women enjoy their domestic role and having loving relationships.
Extreme right wing functionalists who see the family as an institution that keeps society stable and healthy. Therefore they believe that the traditional nuclear family is the most stable type of family. And they see any other type of family as dysfunctional and bad for society.
Murray- claims that the only family that will keep social order in society is the nuclear family. And that the decline in nuclear families and the bringing of new families such as; single-parents families, homosexual families and cohabiting families will destroy traditional values and affect children's primary socialisation.
Dennis and Erdos- claim that children brought up in single parent families, parented by the mother will affect a child's health and education. Because there is no man disciplining the children, they won't have a role model to look up to in society and therefore will become juvenile delinquents.
Criticisms- Its extremely biased as it sees only one type of family as being superior.
Family diversity has always been around and therefore the nuclear family was not the original.
They don't take into account that families are not the only causes of societal problems such as poverty, as problems such as unemployment could cause that.