Families and Households Sociologists/Perspective and What They Say

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Sociology ­ Family
Topic Name/perspective Idea
Changing Family Patterns Murdock Family = universal, same
house, hetero, own children
Divorce Mitchell & Goody Decreased stigma for
divorce since 1960
Divorce Chester (functionalist) Remarriage = common (still
believe in marriage as
Divorce Bernard (feminist) Marriage = patriarchal >
women dissatisfied with it
Divorce Gidden Society encourage
individualism (pursue own
career) > source of conflict
Divorce Postmodernists Freedom to choose
Divorce New Right Creates welfare dependent
Divorce Personal life perspective Causes financial difficulties+
lack of contact with children
Marriage Feminists Marriage = oppressive >
shouldn't do it
Cohabitation Chester Process of getting marred
(75% expect to marry)
Loneparent New Right Create welfare dependency
Social Policy Labour Prodiversity + policies
should support all types
Divorce Reform Act 1969
Sure Start (2000)
Conservative (New Right) Antidiversity, nuclear=best
to teach norms + values,
policies should encourage
marriage + nuclear,
providing too many benefits
= welfare dependency
Marriage (samesex) Act
Marriage Allowance (2014)
Working Together to
Safeguard Children (2015)
Functionalism (Fletcher) Policies help family perform
Feminism (Land, Leonard, Land policies reinforce
Drew) patriarchal roles (women get
custody of children)
Leonard policies appear to
help women but just

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Drew familistic gender
regimes = promote
traditional roles /
individualistic regimes =
promote equality
Marxism Policies serve capitalism +
Donzelot policies = form of
surveillance on proletariat
Demography Harper Education of women gives
Decline in birth rate more opportunities so
delay/don't have kids /
Decline in infant mortality
rate lowers birth rate as
parents don't have kids to
replace dead ones
Decline in death rate McKeown Improved nutrition accounts
for ½ decline in death rate
Ageing population Hirsch Traditional age pyramid
replaced with equal…read more

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Chester (neoconventional Dual earner nuclear = best +
family) most part of nuclear at
some point
Rapoports Organisational, cultural,
social class, lifestage +
generational diversity
Postmodernism Freedom of choice due to
(Cheal) rapid social change +
technology + diversity BUT
relationships = more fragile
+ unstable
Feminism Diversity = good for women
Individualisation Thesis Greater choice + equality >
(Giddens + Beck) relationships based on
intimacy rather than
reproduction > now live in
risk society (less stable as
can leave whenever)
Connectedness Thesis More freedom…read more

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Cultural explanations Gershuny Parents equal ­ you equal /
men do more work to adapt
to society with women
Man Yee Kan Men claim to do more than
dad/women less than mum
Dunne Gay couples = more
symmetrical with no gender
Material explanations Man Yee Kan Every £10,000 more earned,
women do 2 hours less
Ramos If woman = breadwinner,
man does same amount of
Childcare Ferri & Smith Dual burden
Dunscombe & Marsden Triple shift (emotion work
Dex &…read more

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Childhood Aries Social construct > not fixed
to all times and places
Benedict Crosscultural differences in
childhood (child soldiers,
brides, workers)
Lee Child + adult cultures blur
together (Simpsons)
Postman Disappearing (TV + internet
not censored)
Palmer Toxic (junk food, exams,
video games)
Functionalism Improving more time +
money on each child, 1989
Children's Act (protected),
free healthcare, £90 billion a
year on education
Marxism/Feminism Deteriorating pester power
adverts, regulated due to
stranger danger, helicopter
parents, over 40,000 on
child protection register
Jenks Children =…read more

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Feminism Liberal patriarchal
Liberal (Oakly) socialisation cause
Radical (Firestone) oppression
Marxist Feminism (Rubin) Radical motherhood should
Difference (Hook) cease (weakens women) +
men physically oppress
women as sex objects
Marxist oppressed by men
and bourgeoisie
Difference consider
experiences of all types of
Personal Life Perspective Emphasise meanings
families attach to members
> other relationships may
be seen as `family' (dead
relatives/fictive kin, pets,
communities)…read more


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