Debates of family diversity

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  • Debates about family diversity
    • Perspectives on family diversity
      • Concerns about diversity
        • Strongest have come from the New Right, who see diversity as destroying traditional family values.
        • Lone-parent, reconstituted, cohabiting and same-sex families do not function as effectively in socialising children and providing a stable family life.
        • Beck & Beck-Gernsheim do not advocate the nuclear family as an ideal form but have expressed concerns at the way in which individuals' concerns about the risks of commitment have undermined family life.
      • Support for diversity
        • Giddens argues that individuals are not forced into relationships but only engage with them when they find them fulfilling, meaning that there is more equality between partners.
        • Feminists welcome family diversity, arguing the nuclear family was patriarchal.
      • Persistence of patriarchy
        • Feminists argues that aspects of patriarchy persist even in new forms of families & intimate relationships.
        • Chambers (2012) points out that women who reject traditional family forms, such as single mothers and lesbians, still face condemnation from more traditional sections of society & mass media.
    • Continuities in family life
      • Gittins: Family ideology
        • The consensus of nuclear families being the norm is only maintained because there is a powerful ideology of the nuclear family.
        • The mass media portrays nuclear families as the norm.
          • Edmunch Leach (1967)
            • The image of the cereal packet family; it portrays happy smiling families, where mothers typically cook and perform domestic chores for husbands and children.
      • Smart: Personal Life
        • Smart (2007)
          • It is more useful to think in terms of personal life rather than in family life.
            • Many people now exist in a network of relationships, which may include people who are related by blood or marriage.


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