Family Diversity

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  • Family Diversity
    • Functionalism
      • PARSONS: There is a functional fit between the nuclear family and modern society
        • because the family performs essential functions, we generalise about the type of family we will find in modern society
      • other family types are considered dysfunctional or abnormal
    • New Right
      • a conservative and anti feminist perspective
      • opposed to family diversity
      • hold the same view that there is only one correct family type
      • particularly concerned with lone parent families as they are considered harmful to children
      • Negative Evaluation: Feminists argue that the conventional nuclear family is based on patriarchal oppression of women
      • Negative Evaluation: there is no evidence that children in lone parent families are more likely to become delinquents
      • Negative Evaluation: ANN OAKLEY says the New Right wrongly assume that husband/wife roles are fixed by biology, cross cultural studies show variations in roles
    • Neo-Conventional
      • CHESTER recognises some increased family diversity but did not view it as significant or negative
        • He thinks the family has changed to a neo-conventional family. This means that it is a 'dual earner' family where both spouses go to work.
      • It appears that many people are not part of a nuclear family but that is because of the life cycle. E.g. many widows, divorced or young people have been or have yet to be part of a nuclear family
    • Rapoports
      • Think we have moved away from the traditional nuclear family to a range of different types
        • families have adapted to a pluralistic society
          • seen as a positive response
      • CULTURAL: different cultural, religious and ethnic groups have different family structures
      • SOCIAL CLASS: income differences may cause different family structures
      • LIFE STAGE: structure differs according to stage in life cycle e.g. young newlyweds, couples with dependents, grown up children, widows
      • GENERATIONAL: old and young generations have different attitudes and experiences e.g. morality of divorce
      • ORGANISATIONAL: differences in family roles e.g. joint/separate conjugal roles or dual/single earner
    • Postmodernism
      • CHEAL; we are no longer in modern society and family structures have fragmented and individuals have more choice in lifestyles, relationships and family arrangements
        • Postivive Evaluation: more freedom
        • Negative Evaluation: risk of instability as more likely to break up
      • STACEY: greater freedom has benefited women as they can free themselves from patriarchy
        • MORGAN: it is pointless trying to make generalisations about family because family is what those involved choose to call family
      • INDIVIDUALISATION THESIS: traditional social structures have lost influence over us
        • we have been freed from traditional roles so we can choose how to live
          • NEGATIVE EVALUATION: exaggerates how much choice we have and not every one has the same privileges to exercise choice
            • THE PERSONAL LIFE perspective proposes the CONNECTEDNESS THESIS
              • instead of being completely free, our choices are always made within a web on connectedness


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