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Introduction to the Family Lesson 1 Three perspectives • Functionalism – Durkheim and Parsons • Marxism - Engels • Feminism – Liberal, Radical, Marxist Three aspects • Changing family patterns • Marital breakdown • Conjugal roles Today • What is the family? • The relationship between the family and society • Changes in the UK family • The Functionalist perspective Families are important to us! We all share common understanding of what we mean by the notion of ‘family’. Key features often associated with the notion of a ‘family’ • Kinship • Marriage • Household Task – what is a Family? • How many people are needed to be a family? • What relationship must they have to each other? • Do people have to be married to be a family? • Do people have to live in the same household to be a family? One of many possible definitions... ‘a social group consisting of at least one adult and a child, usually cohabiting, related by blood, marriage or adoption.’ Types of family structure • • • • • Nuclear Extended Reconstituted Single-parent Same-sex families Clip Family diversity • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lea 2sY9-xX4 Relationship between the family and society • What is perceived to be a family has important political implications for state policy • For a long time the nuclear family has been given precedence over other types Relationship between family and society • Many political leaders, have made promoting marriage their key political aim • ‘Families matter because almost every social problem that we face comes down to family stability’ • Many sociologists have argued that there is nothing normal and natural about the nuclear family • but that family and kinship relationships are socially constructed Kinship – ‘blood’ ties • Felicity Edholm (1982) • The Lakker of Burma see no blood relationship between mother and child i.e. the mother is simply a container in which the child grows Kinship and residence • In some societies, many children do not live with their biological parents • In Tahiti, in the Pacific Ocean, young women often have one or two children before they are considered ready to settle down in a stable relationship with a man. Marriage and residence • Kathleen Gough’s (1959) analysis of the Nayer society of India, before the British rule in 1792 showed that – Nayar girls marry a man before puberty and later take as many lovers as they like – Children are raised in their mothers’ social group – Husbands and fathers do not share the same residence Matrifocal families • A large number of black families in the West Indies, Central America and the USA are female headed • The Ashanti – Father has no legal authority over his children – Responsibility rests with the mother’s brother – Only about a third of married women live with their husband Types of marriage structure • Monogamy – one husband and one wife • Polygamy – multiple partners – Polygyny – one man and more than one wife – Polyandry – one woman and more than one husband Clip • Polygyny - Maasai tribe – BBC documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq_cptHu fTQ • Polyandry – fraternal polyandry in the Himalayas (National Geographic) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4yjrDSvz e0 • Compare that with…..Friends http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnYTl6qr e3k What is a ‘typical’ family in the UK? Changes in family • Decline in marriage • Rise in divorce • Decrease in family size Task • Why do you think there’s been a decline in marriage? Reasons for the decline in marriage • Part of the fall in marriage is because people are marrying at a later age • However, the main reason is due to people choosing NOT to marry, instead they remain single or cohabit. Cohabitation and singleparent families • Cohabitation has risen by 64% in the last decade, with almost half of children now born outside ‘wedlock’. • The proportion of children living in loneparent families in the UK more than tripled (24% in 2006) Reasons for rejecting marriage • Marriage limits personal freedom and independence • There is no advantage to marriage • Fear of divorce Rise in Divorce • Steady rise of divorce rates throughout the 20th century • For every three weddings there are now two divorces - the highest rate in Europe. Rise in Divorce Marital breakdown • Separation – Couple remains legally married but live in separate residences • Empty-shell marriages – The couple live together, remain legally married, but their marriage exists in name only Changing society • A shift in social attitudes and values led to acceptance of diverse family structures • Expectations of love and marriage became higher and intensified Changes in the law • In the past the grounds for divorce included adultery, cruelty and desertion. • The Divorce Reform Act came to force in 1971, which allowed separation on simple basis of the ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage’ The economic position of women • Increasing number of women have entered the labour market, which contributed significantly to their independence • Also divorce settlements, welfare benefits have taken more account of the financial needs of women with dependant children Changing society • Better contraception • Demographic changes Decrease in family size • The average family size in the UK has decreased during the last 30 years, declining from 3.1 people in 1961 to 2.4 people in 2006 • Related factors are: women’s employment, the cost of childcare, and lifestyle choice Households spend £471 a week (2009) Conjugal roles • This refers to the roles and responsibilities between men and women • These can be shared or segregated, the same or different The role of men and women Changing role of men and women Summary • Key features of the family – The family is seen by many sociologists as the cornerstone of society. – Some form of family can be found in all societies. – Socio-biology saw the family as an inevitable outcome of biological evolutionary process (Murdock, 1949). Mindmap outcome 1 Definitions Organisation What is the family? Changes Changing society The Functionalist perspective The Functionalist theory • Functionalists believe every institution in society contributes to the smooth running of society. • To functionalists the family is at the heart of society. Functionalism and the Family Functionalists ask three main questions: 1. What are the functions of the family? 2. What are the functional relationships between the family and other parts of the social system? 3. What are the functions of the family for its individual members? Functions of the Family It has been suggested that the family (nuclear) must be universal and, as such, must be necessary. Murdock(1949) argued that the family is to be found in every society and has four main functions: 1. 2. 3. 4. Sexual Reproductive Economic Educational Talcott Parsons (1959) • Industrialisation means a shift from extended to “isolated nuclear family”. • The family serves two “basic and irreducible” functions 1) Primary socialisation of children 2) Stabilisation of adult personalities Talcott Parsons NUCLEAR FAMILY 1. Primary socialisation of children: 1a. 1b. Internalisation Structuring Of Society’s Personality Culture 2. Stabilisation of adult personalities Warm Bath Theory 1. Primary socialisation… early years family Primary Socialisation Internalisation of society’s culture - which means… 2 basic processes: Structuring Personality… 2. Stabilisation of adult personalities • Once produced, the personality must be kept stable • Emphasis is on marriage relationships and the emotional security the couple provide for each other • This acts as a counterweight to the stresses and strains of everyday life, which tends to make the personality unstable. Parsons • For the family to operate efficiently as a social system, there has to be a clear-cut sexual division of labour Can’t have competition! Differentiated sex roles prevent competition within the family Husband/Father Wife/Mother Market work Domestic work Instrumental leadership Expressive leadership For Parsons The family provides a context in which husband/wife can: • express their childish whims, • give and receive emotional support • recharge their batteries , • and so stabilise their personalities Expressive Leader • The provider of warmth, security and emotional support. • She should apply these expressive qualities not only to her children but to her husband also – that is to stabilise (his) adult personalities. Instrumental Leader • Spends his day working leading to stress and anxiety. • The expressive female relieves this tension by providing the weary breadwinner with love, consideration and understanding. Clips • I got you fired honey… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgGFz US4tkg • Harry Enfield - Old fashioned family values http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQz f8lHuYPo The isolated ‘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 • The family is self-contained, inward looking with little contact with neighbours and community. • Home leisure via TV, Video, Internet etc. have made the family more home-centred. Task Get into groups of around 4. Discuss: • Are families today more private? • Add examples to illustrate the private nature of the home. • What are (a) the positives and (b) the negative aspects of the “privatized” family? Clip • Functions of the Family http://youtu.be/nOng7C5rRhU Strengths • Functionalism is good in highlighting the positive aspects of the family, • and stresses the importance of the family, as some form of family structure is to be found in almost every human society. Weaknesses 1. They are preoccupied with the positive aspects of the family, in an idealised way – are families always harmonious and integrated? 2. It fails to give any consideration to things like domestic violence, child abuse etc Weaknesses (cont) 3. They justify the domestic division of labour between men and women as something natural and unproblematic. 4. They neglect the role that other social institutions, other than the family, such as government, media and schools, play in socialising children. Summary • Functionalists see the family as a central institution in society. • It performs essential social functions such as raising children. • The family is seen as an important source of security and satisfaction for its members. Task • Put this information on a mind map so you remember it Functionalist theory on the Family Next week • We will look at the Marxist and Feminist perspectives on the family. • Homework for next week – Describe the key features and changes in the family = 6 marks – Describe and evaluate the functionalist theory of the family = 5 marks (10 marks). Clip if there’s time… Journey of pregnant man – Thomas Beatie • http://youtu.be/jho1UCPDqXg