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The Impact

of Family Life
on Individual
Functionalists and neo-functionalists usually
emphasise the positive aspects of family life.
Although the family is not a perfect
institution (dysfunctional: domestic violence
and child abuse) . . .
. . . family is the best we can have to fulfil
needs and functions:

Security (emotional, physical,

sexual, psychological, and

Raising children
The positive aspect of family life
(20th-century) is supported by
Fletcher as he argues as a rewarding
institution catering for individual self-
realisation and autonomy.
Postmodernists focus on individual
psychological stability.

Identity (who we are and how we

understand our position in society) is
the focal point in the family.

The emergence of globalisation has

provide people with more choice
about their everyday behaviour.
This reality, however, can cause
uncertainty about who we are and how
we are supposed to behave.

Family life can also suffer from the

decentring process (class, gender, age,
and ethnic social identities are no
longer can be the guidance).

Yet, people now have more choices on

how to be a father or daughter.
Stable family relationships, hence, provide
significant emotional and psychological
benefits to family members.

Personal and social responsibility created

within the family has wider benefits for the
community because children are given clear
moral and behavioural guidance.
This process involves a sense of moral
commitment to others that forms the
basis of social responsibility.

Since adults play roles based on

domestic labour, care for others, and
shared economic provision . . .

. . . indicate a personal sacrifice and

commitment to other family members.
In return, families generate psychological
pleasure people gain from a relationship
with those who share a sense of personal
commitment, love, and affection (Becker).

Along this line, Anderson theorises that

families provide support networks that give
psychological and social benefits (love,
comfort, security) no longer provided by
other social institutions.
Conflict perspectives emphasise the
negative of family instead of its positive.

This theory view the family as:

Psychologically destructive
Socially oppressive and exploit women
Violent and abusive
This theory is supported by Leach who
argues that family is a source of social and
psychological conflicts that damage
peoples lives.

Along the same line Laing and Esterson

state that the family is an emotionally
exploitative institution.
Cooper also describes that
families are slowing down the
individuals social/psychological
development and restricts
freedom of expression that result
in the murder of their lives.
1. Conflict theory does not locate the family
within the structure of society as a whole
to consider whether families serve a useful
social purpose
2. It does not give any alternative that would
eliminate the psychological traumas in
contemporary family life
Marxist Feminism
Based on conflict perspectives, this
theory focus on the oppression and
exploitation of women in the family.

Women are exploited as unpaid

servants for their partner and
The role of women inside and outside
the home contributes to the system
(patriarchal)where they provide free
physical, psychological, sexual, and
emotional services.

Women also in many cases

experienced violence (physical and/or
emotional) in the family.
The abolition of the family

The abolition of the partriarchal family