Please answer the following sociology questions (view on the family).
- What do functionalists believe about the family ?
- What does Murdoch believe about the family?
- What does Parson's believe about the family ?
- What is the "warm bath" theory ?
- Explain two criticism of the functionalist view of the family.
- What do Marxists believe about the family ?
- Give one criticism of the Marxist view.
- Explain the radical feminist's view of the family.
- Explain the Marxist feminist's view of the family.
- Explain the liberal feminist's view of the family.
- Assess the feminist perspective by the given strengths and weaknesses of its view on the family.
- How influential has feminism been on the study of the family?
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In examining human society, there are many factors to consider and different ways of interpreting situations, social and economic events and behavior. Functionalism is one such way of managing and coping within the environment.
1) Family, in the functionalist's view,helps to maintain social order because it is an essential part of a whole complementary system and ensures reliance between, for example, education and children within the family as children sustain the education system, thereby contributing to stability. When one aspect fails, it affects other "parts" in the system. Cooperation is key and society at large depends on it.
2) To Murdoch, the "nuclear" family is the essential component in ensuring emotional attachments and a stable environment in which to exist. He believes that this nuclear family is consenting, heterosexual adults and their children (biological or adopted). Gender and traditional male and female roles are important in Murdoch's view.
3) Parsons believes in the three stages of socialization where each family member has a role in maintaining the "system." Primary socialization takes place when young children are developing their personalities and they learn accepted behavior and beliefs in the home environment. Secondary socialization takes place in the teenage years and tertiary socialization is evident as young adults form their own opinions and establish their own values. In Parsons' structure, even though roles change, especially relating to traditional male and female roles, the same basic elements remain and any consequent conflict is quite naturally resolved.
4) In an ideal family setting, the "warm bath" theory, claims that family provides a means of relaxation away from everyday stress. It does not allow for dysfunctional families where the family is the source of the problem.
5) One of the main criticisms of the functionalist view of family is its inability to recognize the modern family unit which no longer meets the traditional marriage and children phenomenon but rather a more personal system of choices that were previously not available. The limited view of family causes an idealized family unit which often cannot be sustained. Another criticism is its view that change is negative and, although functionalist families will adapt to change, it is unsettling and destabilizes the "system" as a whole and therefore is to be discouraged. This, naturally, upsets people who find this system limiting and outdated.
6) The Marxist view is critical and mistrusting of anything similar to an institution and so it assumes that the family unit may take advantage of this to further its capitalist views, bettering itself to the detriment of others. The traditional family with its roles and therefore without a balance of power due to the dominant male role creates a false sense of security. The family then reflects an unequal society and having a family perpetuates the capitalist structure.
7) A criticism of the Marxist view is its preoccupation with the economy and capitalism.
8) The radical feminist's perspective relates to patriarchy and the dominant male role in the family. Family allows men to continue to exploit women
9) The Marxist feminist view presumes that women, for example, marry for security. It sees marriage as capitalistic in nature and overlooks freedom of choice and women marrying for love. Women are oppressed within their own families.
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