Life Course

  • Created by: m1laxx
  • Created on: 09-02-23 12:56
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  • The life course of the family
    • According to Postmodernis'Family structure is not a static entity but changes over the course of life.
    • Hareven notes that the life course is made up of several stages: birth, early childhood, infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, adulthood, middle age, old age and death.
      • Hareven also talks about the fact that it's possible for an individual to live in eight types of households before the age of 30.
    • When children leave home, parents have to cope with the concept of an empty-nest household. They are no longer distracted by children and have to learn to live with one another again, so many opt to divorce at this stage.
      • Many of them will gain emotional satisfaction through the childcare of their grandchildren; however many of these decisions and choices may be shaped by events such as death, sickness, disability, wealth, poverty, ethnicity and geography.
        • Some people may elect to stay in a single-person household after the death of their partner, whereas others elect to move in with their children.
    • Families and households are nit concrete things that people should strive to attain, argued by functionalist and New Right sociologists.
      • Instead, family life is in a constant state of change. Therefore, there is no 'perfect family' because family dynamics are unique.
        • It's also noted by a multitude of sociologists, such as Pahl and Spencer (2001) and Weeks (2001), that many 'families' are going outside into a broader depiction on what a family contains. For example, many homosexual families include extended-kin relationships from friends rather than blood relatives, and this is also true for many heterosexual relationships.
          • Smart (2007) recommended using the term 'personal life' rather than family because the latter is associated with 'idealism.' The concept of a 'personal life' is much more flexible and includes newer types of relationships and family structures, including: post-divorce relationships, same-sex relationships, relationships created by new reproductive technologies, relationships in which people commit to each other but live apart, open relationships and friendships.
    • Robert and Rhona Rapoport (1976) argued that the life-cycle was the main cause of family diversity in modern societies. They identified five other types of diversity in family structures and relationships.
      • Class diversity refers to social-class variations in the quality of family relationships and lifestyles. For example, upper-class family life may be very different from other classes.
      • Structural diversity simply refers to variations in family size or organisation. For example, most families are nuclear but there's also many other structures.
      • Cultural diversity refers o the impact of global migration on family structures.
      • Domestic diversity means that there will be variations in the way men and women divide and manage childcare and housework.
      • Cohort diversity: cohort refers to a group of people born over the same people of time (for example, the baby boomer generation born between 1946 and 1964). Cohorts or generations often have a difference of family life compared with their parents' generation because of the influence of wider social and historical events, such as the economy level, changes in the law, migration and etc.
    • Conclusions: Marriage and family life have undergone considerable change . Cohabitation is no longer immoral.


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