Family diversityKey terms • Nuclear family = a family group consisting of two parents and children living in the same household • Cohabitation = couples who are not married live together • Extended family = a family which includes three or more generations, usually including grandparents, their sons and daughters and their children • Singleton = someone who lives by themselves • Same-sex families = two people of the same sex live together as a family • Reconstituted family = a family which comprises of married or cohabiting couples who between them have at least one child from a previous relationship who either visits or live with them • Single-parents family = a lone-parent family which is a result of the parents divorce or separation, the death of one parent, or because there has only ever been one parent • Empty nest family = 2 parents and their children have grown up and left home DINKI family = dual income – no kids Modernism and the nuclear family • Functionalists and the new right have a modernist view of family diversity. • Both think that the best family is the nuclear. • They believe the nuclear family easily slots not societies structure and helps it but performing and maintain certain essential functions. • The essential functions are described by George Peter Murdock, Talcott Parsons and Charles Murray who are functionalist and new right sociologists. Talcott parsons • Says he Extended family become a nuclear family to functionally fit the needs of modern society. • Argues that modern society wanted a flexible and more mobile family such as the nuclear family and believes this was due to the family being able to adapt themselves. • Has two irreducible functions the primary socialisation of children. Murdock • Argues that the nuclear family is essential for society due to them being the building block of society and through 4 functions which are educative, economic, sexual and emotional. The new right • Have a conservative and anti-feminist perspective on the family and strongly oppose to this How are the New Right similiar to the functionalists? • Both are against change • Both love the nuclear family and support them as they believe they are essential’ for to society
• Both strongly oppose family diversity (AGAINST)Why do the new right have such a problem with Family DiversityLone parent families• Riots• Dependency culture• Poverty• Crime• Illegal activities• Under age pregnancies• Deviant poorly socialised children• See them as a burden welfare state as they cannot discipline• children.Working mums• New Right dont like them as caring for their family is just their priority• Their job is to look after their husbandCohabitation and divorce• Dont like it as they believe marriage is essential for creating a stable environment for children• Believe it creates instabilityWelfare/benefits discourage men from working and encourage a dependency cultureFamily breakdown increases risks to children• Amota (2000) argue that children in families that have broken down have greater risk of poverty, education failure, crime ,health problems, increase in chance of future breakdown and return to traditional values to prevent damage to broken children.The welfare system is to blame• They believe increase in lone parents families because more spending on welfare• If you have high levels of tax and benefits acts as perverse incentives• Public funds, the tax burden on the working population has become bigger• Responsible behaviour is punished – high tax• Irresponsible behaviour is rewarded – freebies for the welfare estateSolution to reducing family diversity• culture welfare benefits• Encourage the conventional family• Abolish them completely to reduce dependency culture
Harry Benson (2006)• Studied 15,000 babies born in 2000 – 2001 and found that 3000 of the parents had become single mother during the first three years of the childs lifeHe found that:• The rate of family breakdown was lower fir among married couples than any other family type• 6% of married couples resulted in single parent family• 20% of cohabiting couples resulted in a single parent family• 74% of people who were ‘closely involved’ but not living togetherCriticism of the New Right• Feminism – do not agree with feminist campaigns for womens equality which is why they’re so negative towards them.• New rights – based on patriarchal oppression of women. They are criticised as they want women to remain unequal and be dependent on men.• Criticised as there is no evidence that lone parent families are part of a dependency culture or that children form single parent families are more likely to be a criminal than children from any other family type.Robert Chester: the Neo conventional family• Recognises the fact that there has been an increase in family diversity but unlike the new right Robert doesnt see it as significant or damaging.• Suggest the only important change is the shift from the traditional nuclear family to the neo- conventional family• The Neo Conventional Family is regarded by Chester as the Dual Earner Family, where both husband and wife go out and work.• Doesnt see any other evidence of a major change in society.• Argues that’s most people are choosing not to live in alternatives to the nuclear family on a long term basis and that the nuclear family is still the ideal family type for most people.• Agrees with functionalism and sees the nuclear family as dominant and important• Suggests the extent of family diversity and its impact on society has been exaggerated• Chester identifies a number of patterns to support his view that family hasnt rapidly increasedIdentified that little has changed• Most people live in a household headed by married couple• Most adults marry and have children reared by their natural parents• Most marriages continue until death• Cohabitation is a temporary phase before marriage• Birth outside of marriage are still jointly registered – commitment to raise child as a coupleRhona and Robert Rapoports (1982)• Argue that diversity is of central importance in understanding of family life today.
• Argue that the family has Shifted from the traditional and dominant nuclear family to a range of different family types. Families in Britain have adapted to a pluralistic society which is where cultures and lifestyles are more diverseA02 – Unlike the New Right, the Rapoports see diversity as a response to peoples different needsand wishes and not as abnormal or a deviation from the assumed norm of a nuclear familyRhona and Robert Rapoports (1982) : five types of family diversity1. Organisation diversity – differences in ways family roles are organised2. Cultural diversity – because of different cultural, religious and ethnic groups family types are already predicted3. Social class diversity – family structure and practices may be different based on incomes4. Life stage diversity – life cycle5. Generational diversity – different generation have different attitudes and experience towards family life e.g. younger age = prefer nuclear familiesPost modernity and the life course• Reject the idea that there is one best family type or that the family shapes its members and behaviours• Argue that we make our own choice about family life and relationships and that we have a greater choice about our own personal relationship which has increased family diversity.Tamara Harevan (1978)• Studied the life course analysis.• Argues that if we want to understand family life, we need to focus on individual family members and how they may their decision.• the life course analysis focuses on the meanings people five to life events such as leaving home, having a baby, coming out as gay or moving into sheltered accommodations.• Favours the use of unstructured in depth interviews with family members as the best way to uncover the meanings behind their choices about family life and relationships.Life course analysis
David Morgan (1996)• A02 – like Tamara Harevean, explores the concept of family practices to describe the routine actions through which we create sense of being a family member; such as feeding the children or doing the DIY.• Studied family practices• Doesnt complete reject the idea of structural theoriesHow do beliefs influence family practice?• Our right and obligations within family influences.• Some men may believe it’s the wives job ti look after the kids whilst they go out to work.• Idea allows us to see why family conflict exists due to different member may hold different beliefs or expectations about each other’s responsibilities.Why did Morgan prefer ‘family practice’ instead of ‘family structure’• Families are not concrete ‘things’ or ‘structures’ they are just simply what people do.• Family practice gets us closer to the relations of everyday experience ( not a physical thing)• The family isnt a clear or distinct structure from society.David cheal (1993)• argues that we no longer live in the ‘modern world’ with its [predictable orderly structures such as the nuclear family• Believes that society has now entered a new chaotic postmodern stages family structures have become more fragmented and individuals have much more choice in their lifestyles, personal relationships and family arrangementTwo characteristics of society. diversity and frafmentation• family structures are fragmented and individuals have much more choice in their styles personal relationships and family arrangements.2. Rapid social change• family life is more diverse• Shape depends on the active choices people make about how to live their lives e.g. whether to get divorces, cohabit, come out as gay etc• There is no longer one dominant family typeGiddens (1992)• Is a postmodernist sociologist• Studied choice and equality• Argues that the family and marriage have been transformed by greater choice and a more equal relationship between men and women. This happened because of;1. Contraception – has allowed sex and intimacy rather than reproduction to become the main reason for relationship existence
2. Womens independence – increase as a result of feminist because of greater opportunities in education as well as in workAs a result of the changes Gidden identifies, the couples is now free to define their ownrelationship rather than act out the roles that have been denied by tradition. This relationshipis known as the pure relationships• Relationship solely exists to meet each partners needs• Couple stay together because of love, happiness or sexual attraction that than tradition of staying together for the same of children• Relationships are a path of self discovery• However, increased choices leads to instabilityBeck: ‘risk society’ and the negotiated family• Ulrich Beck (1992) suggest that we now live in a risk society were tradition has less influence and people have more choices. We have now become more aware of the risk we face; this is because we make choices involving calculating the risks and rewards of the difference courses of action available.These are;1. Comparing todays risks society with the past2. Undermining the patriarchal family3. The new negotiated familyComparing todays risks society with the past• Todays risk society contrasts with an earlier time when roles were more fixed and people had less chance on how to live their lifesExamples• People were expected to marry• Men played the role of the breadwinner, disciplinary and make more important financial decisions• Women took responsibly for housework and childcareUndermining the patriarchal family• In the past family was unequal and oppressive but the good thing about it was because it was stable• Patriarchal family has been undermined by two trend1. Greater gender equality – has challenged mates role and women how expect equality at work and in marriage2. Greater individualism – peoples actions are now based on self interest rather than obligation towards other peopleThe new negotiated family• Relationship is negotiated between partners.• Decide whats best for family and enter the relationships on an equal basis.
• However, this has led to the family no become more unstable if relationship is not what they expected, individuals are free to leave the relationship.Feminism: Stacey: the divorce – extended family• Judith Stacey (1998) suggest that greater choice has benefited women: it has enabled them to free themselves from patriarchal and to shape their family arrangements to meet their needs,• Found evidence of all sorts of different family and household arrangements in her research.Weeks: the growing acceptance of diversity• Identified a long term shift in attitudes since the 1950’s• Indentified that sexual mortality is down to person choice and that cohabitation and homosexuality has become more acceptableHowever despite these changing attitudes , family patterns continue to be fairly traditional;• Most people still live in a family• Most children are brought up by couples• Most couples marry• Most divorces remarryTwo views of family diversityFor family diversity • Postmodernist and feminists are in favour of greater family diversity• Nuclear family is best equipped to meet needs of society• Stacy see diversity as desirable as it brings peoples freedom to choose personal relationships and ways of living and meeting needsAgainst family diversity • Opposes greater family diversity which is held by the functionalist and new right• Jeffery weeks says the family isnt natural and is socially constructed by its members• Division of labour between an ‘instrumental’ male bread winner role and an ‘expressive’ female housewife role• New right see lone parent families as causing juvenile crime and deviance