Sociological Perspectives on the Family

An overview of the sub-topics, key concepts, and exam questions (short answer and essay questions)

Being able to critically apply different perspectives is the most important skill you can demonstrate in Sociology. You can also apply the perspectives to many of the other topics within the family, most obviously Marriage and Divorce and Social Policies. There are six perspectives you need to be able to apply, which form the six topics within this topic.

 

You also get…

  • -A 25 slide power point covering course content and exam technique, which will form the basis of the class.
  • A supplementary 12 page hand-out with 2 exemplars of 10 mark ‘outline’ (no item) questions, 2 exemplars of 10 mark ‘outline and analyse’ questions (with an item), and 3 exemplar essays.

Subtopics

  1. Functionalism
  2. Marxism
  3. Feminisms
  4. The New Right
  5. Postmodernism
  6. Late Modernism

Key concepts, research studies and case studies you should be able to apply

  • The Nuclear family
  • Stable Satisfaction of the sex drive
  • Primary Socialisation
  • Dual Burden
  • Stabilisation of adult personalities
  • Primitive communism
  • ideological functions
  • family as a unit of consumption
  • Socialisation
  • Parson’s functional fit theory
  • Traditional society
  • Extended family
  • Triple Shift
  • Negotiated Family
  • The Underclass
  • Moral Decline
  • The Pure Relationship
  • Risk Society
  • Consumer culture
  • Globalisation
  • Negotiated family
  • Individualisation
  • ‘The normal chaos of love’       

Possible exam style short answer questions

Outline and briefly explain two positive functions that the nuclear family might perform (10)

Using one example, explain what is meant by the term ‘the stabilisation of adult personalities’ (4)

Using one example explain how the nuclear family’ fits’ industrial society? (4)

Outline and briefly explain two criticisms of the ‘The Functionalist Perspective’ on the family (10)

Outline three ways in which the family might perform ideological functions (6)

Using one example, explain what is meant the phrase ‘the family is a unit of consumption’ (4)

Define the term Patriarchy (2)

Outline and briefly explain the difference between the Liberal and Radical Feminist views of the family (10)

Using one example explain postmodern society has influenced family life in recent years (4)

Possible Essay Questions – You should plan these!

Assess the Contribution of Functionalism to our Understanding of Family Life (20)

Using material from Item 2B and elsewhere, assess the contribution of feminist sociologists to an understanding of family roles and relationships

Evaluate the New Right Perspective on the family (20)

Evaluate the postmodernist view of the family and relationships (20)

Assess the view that the main aim of the nuclear family is to meet the needs of Capitalism (20)

Using material from Item 2B and elsewhere, assess the view that, in today’s society, the family is losing its functions (20)

The final question is emboldened because it is more likely you’ll get a question like this rather than a straightforward ‘assess this perspective’ type question.

 

 

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