- marriage, cohabitation,
separation, divorce, child-bearing and the lifecourse, diversity of contemporary family
and household structures.
- Wilson and Smallwood: Marriage rates don't include those married abroad, questioning the validity of statistics
- Functionalists: Goode: Conflict has increased because the nuclear family is becoming more isolated from other kin, placing an emotional burden on husbands and wives who have little support from other relatives
- Goode: empty shell marriages were common as couples tended to stay together for children and to preserve social standing in community
- Postmodern: Gibson: secularisation has loosened the rigid morality which in the past made divorce morally unacceptable
- Postmodern: Beck and Beck Gernsheim: Individualisation- more opportunities and choice, consumer choice and fulfilment- marriage treated like consumer products- if not providing satisfaction more likely to be discarded
- The life course: Functionalist: Parsons: people pass through distinctive age groups with different social roles associated with each age group
- Childhood= socialisation into culture Adolescence= develop independence Old age=loss of social roles
- Pilcher= no universal life-cycle, not everyone passes through every stage, e.g. not everyone becomes a parent. socially defined timetable. different societies view it differently. affected by life expectancy- middle age and old age changed.
- Life-cycle: Postmodernists: Featherstone and Hepworth: been deconstructed and broken down. clear-cut distinctions between age groups less important. e,g, children and adults less distinctive in dress and leisure, older people more healthy and take part in younger activity, personal age more important
- Diversity: New right: Murray: dependency culture, results of a decline in traditional values, over generous welfare system possible for lone parents to live on benefits with housing provided by the state.
- Single-mothers= cause of crime and social decay, lack of a male role/authority figure.
- State benefits should be cut and social policy targeted to discourage family diversity and promote marriage and the nuclear family
- Diversity: Postmodern: Beck: people now live in "negotiated families"- family units that vary according to the changing needs. more equal than traditional families but less stable.
- Diversity: Neo-conventional family: Chester: most people still get married and stay married, statistics can be misleading, usually based upon proportion of households of different types and not the proportion of people living in different types: e.g. nuclear tend to be larger.
- 2008: 70% of people were still in households headed by a couple- a fall from 81% but still a large majority.
- change in the roles of husband and wife- increasingly married women are employed outside the home: the neo-conventional family
- Rapoport: 5 main types of diversity: 1. organisational diversity- variations in structure, kinship networks, division of labour, e.g. lone-parent, dual-earner, cohabiting, reconstituted. 2. cultural diversity- difference in lifestyles 3. Class diversity . stages in life-cycle- differences between newly married without children, couples with dependent children and families with non-dependent children 5. Cohort- group of people born over the same period of time. different pattern of family life