Sociology- Postmodernism and family diversity

  • Created by: Daisymac
  • Created on: 16-03-19 10:05
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  • Postmodernism and family diversity
    • What?
      • Start from the view that we no longer live in a modern society
      • There is no longer one single, dominant , stable family structure
      • Family structures have now become fragmented into different types
    • Stacey- Postmodern families
      • 1998 -Argues that the greater freedom and choice has benefited women as they have been freed from patriarchal oppression
      • Study of families in Silicon Valley found that women rather than men have been the main agents of changes in the family
      • EG. Many of women interviewed had rejected traditional role of housewife and had created new types of family that suited their needs
      • Divorce extended family- members connected by divorce rather than marriage
        • Illustrate idea that postmodern families are diverse and their shape depends on the active choices people live about how to live their lives
      • Morgan 2011 argues we cant make large scale generalisations about the family as if it were a single thing and we should focus on how people make their own diverse family lives
    • Individualisation thesis
      • Giddens and Beck explore the effects of increasing individual choice upon families and relationships
      • It argues that traditional social structures such as class, gender and family have lost much of their influence over us
      • In the past, peoples lives were defined by fixed roles that prevented them from choosing their own life course
      • Now we have become disembedded ( freed) from traditional roles and structures
      • Beck 1992 argues that the "standard biography" that people lived in the past has been replaced by a "do-it-yourself biography"
    • Giddens- Choice and equality
      • 1992-  argues in recent decades, the family and marriage have been transformed y greater choice and a more equal relationship due to :
        • Contraception has allowed sed and intimacy rather than reproduction
        • Women have gained independence as a result of feminism and greater opportunities
      • In past, marriage was held together by external forces like laws governing the marriage contract
      • Couples today are free to define their relationships themselves rather than acting out roles set out by tradition
    • Pure relationships
      • Giddens argues that pure relationships are not held together by law, religion or traditional institutions, but by individual choice and equality
      • Key feature is that it solely exists to satisfy each partners needs -- Relationship exists as long as they want to
      • Individuals are free to choose to enter and leave the relationship as they want
      • But with more choice comes less stability as pure relations have a rolling contract that can be ended at the will of each partner
      • This creates more family diversity as it creates lone parent families or one person households
    • Same sex couples
      • Giddens saw same sex relationships as leading the way towards new family types and creating more equal relationships
      • Same sex couples not influenced by tradition and so have been able to develop relationships based on choice rather than traditional roles
      • Enabled people in same sex relationships to negotiate personal relationships and to actively create family structures that serve their own needs
      • Weston 1992 found same sex couples created supportive families of choice from among friends ,former lovers and biological kin
      • Weeks 2000 found friendship networks functioned as kinship networks for gay men an lesbians
    • Beck: The negotiated family
      • 1992 argues that we now live in a risk society where tradition  has less influence and people have more choice
      • We are more aware of risks as making choices involves calculating the risks
      • Although traditional patriarchal family was oppressive, it did provide a stable and predictable basis for family life
      • Patriarchal family has been undermined by 2 trends
        • Greater gender equality -- Women now expect equality from work and in marriage
        • Greater individualism-- Peoples actions are influenced more by calculations of their own self interest than by tradition
      • Beck and Beck-Gernsheim 1995 call this the negotiated family, which do not conform to the traditional family norm but vary according to the wishes and expectations of their members
        • But its less stable as individuals are free to leave if their needs are not met
    • The zombie family
      • Beck- I appears to be alive, but in reality it is dead
      • People want security in a security world
    • The personal life perspective
      • Agree there is more family diversity but disagree with Beck and Giddens' explanation of it
      • Individualisation thesis exaggerates how much choice people have about family relationships today
      • Budgeon 2011 notes this reflects the neoliberal ideology that individuals have complete freedom of choice
      • Thesis wrongly sees people as disembedded, independent individuals  and it ignores that our decisions are made within a social context
      • Individualisation ignores importance of structural factos such as social class inequalities and patriarchal gender norms in limiting choice
      • May- Giddens and Becks view of the individual is ' an idealised version of a white, middle class man' and ignore fact not everyone has same privilege
    • The connectedness thesis
      • Smart-Connectedness  thesis
      • Instead of seeing people as disembedded, isolated and with limitless choice,Smart argues that we are social beings whose choices are always mafe within a web of connectedness
      • We live within networks of existing relationships and interwoven personal histories and these strongly influence our range of options and choices in relationships
      • Finch and Masons 1993 study of extended families found whole individuals can negotiate the relationship they want, They are also embedded within family connections that restrict their choices
        • Challenges the Pure family
      • Eg. parents who separate remain linked  by their children
      • Emphasises the role of class and gender structures in which they are embedded
        • Eg. After divorce, gender norms means women have the children, which may limit their opportunity to form new relationships
        • The powerlessness of women and children compared to men means they lack freedom and so remain trapped in abusive relationships
    • Power of structures
      • Beck and Giddens argue there has been a weakening of structures of class, gender and the family
      • May argues that these structures are just being reshaped eg, just because women have more rights that don't have it all now
      • Einasdottir 2011 argues that while lesbianism is now tolerated, heteronormativity meant hat many lesbians forced to remain in the closet which limits their choices
      • Personal life perspective does not see increased diversity simply as a result of greater freedom, but emphasises the importance of social structures in shaping the freedoms of many people now have to create more diverse types of family

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