Sociology-Modernism and the nuclear family

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  • Created on: 15-03-19 14:54
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  • Modernism and the nuclear family
    • Functionalism
      • Parsons argues that there is a functional fit between the nuclear family and modern society
      • Nuclear family= Adequately suited to meeting the needs of modern society for geographically and socially mobile workforce
        • Functions= Primary socialization and stabilization of adult personalities
      • Other family types= dysfunctional/abnormal
    • The new right
      • Firmly opposed to family diversity
      • Conservative and anti-feminist perspective on the family
      • Best type of family is the traditional nuclear
      • Sees this family as based on fundamental biological differences between men and women
      • Argue that the decline f the traditional  nuclear family and the growth of family diversity is the cause of many social problems
      • See lone parent families as harmful to children
        • Lone mothers cannot discipline their children properly
        • Leave boys without an adult male role model-- Educational failure and delinquency
        • Likely to be poorer and so are a burden on welfare state
    • Cohabitation vs marriage
      • Claim main cause of lone parent families is the collapse of relationships between cohabiting couples
      • Benson 2006- Analysed data of 15000 babies and found that in first 3 years of child's life, the rate of family breakdown was much higher among cohabiting couples
      • Benson argued that couples are more stable when they are married as it requires deliberate commitment to each other
      • Argue that this evidence has shown the family and society at largue are broken
        • Argue that only a return to traditional values can prevent social disintegration
        • Regard laws like easy access to divorce and gay marriage as undermining the conventional family
    • Criticisms of new right
      • Oakley argues that the new right wrongly assume that husbands and wifes roles are fixed by biology
        • Cross cultural studies shows that there is variation in these roles
        • Argues that their view is a negative reaction against the feminist campaign for equality
      • Feminists argue conventional nuclear family is favoured as it is based on the patriarchal oppression of women and prevents women from working
      • Critics are there is no evidence children from lone parent families were more likely to become delinquent
      • Rate of cohabitation is higher among poorer social groups and Smart 2011 points out it may be poverty that causes breakdown of relationships
    • Chester neo conventional family
      • Chester 1985 recognises that there has been some increased family diversity, but does not see this in a negative light
      • Argues that the only significant factor is the change from the conventional nuclear family to neo conventional
      • Dual earner family in which both spouses go out to work
      • Still argues that most people are not choosing to live in alternatives to the nuclear family and argues nuclear is the best type
      • Argues that although many people are not part of a nuclear family at any one time, this is due toa life cycle as many people have been part of a nuclear family at one stage in their lives
      • Chester identifies patterns
        • Most people live in a household headed by a married couple
        • Most adults have children
        • Most marriages continue until death
        • Cohabitation has increased but for most it is a temporary state
        • Most births happen inside marriage
    • Rapoports 5 types of family diversity
      • 1982 argue that diversity is important in understanding family life today
      • Believe we have moved away from the traditional nuclear family
      • Families in Britain have adapted to a pluralistic society- One in which cultures and lifestyles are more diverse
      • Family diversity reflects greater freedom and choice and the acceptance of different cultures
      • Cultural diversity--  Different cultural, religious and ethnic groups have different family structures
        • Life stage diversity-- Family structures differ according ti the life stage in the life cycle
          • Organisational diversity-- Differences in the ways that family roles are organised
            • Generational diversity-- Older and younger generations have different attitudes and experiences
              • Social class diversity-- Differences in household structures result of income differences.


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