families and households

  • types of families
  • changes in types of families
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  • Created on: 13-04-12 20:39
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"The role is the expected pattern of behaviour associated with a particular social status under defined
circumstances. Roles allow individuals to predict how others will act in particular situations and to respond
appropriately." Lawson and Garrod (2003)
In 1950s only the nuclear family is seen as the `normal' family and is accepted. According to functionalists
as George Peter Murdock or Talcott Parsons, the family should include a man who works and earn
enough money for all the family, a woman who is at home and does the housework ,look after her
husband and two dependent children. A nuclear family at 1950s is often seen as a `cereal packet' family
with `no problems'. Functionalists ignore the dark side of the family as arguments between husband and
wife and domestic violence.
In 1960s the society was focused on changing conjugal roles. The roles played by a husband and wife
within marriage have changed. The woman still has primary responsibility for housework and children but
the man becomes more involved and they make the important decisions together as household finances
or children's education.
On the end of 1960s and early 1970s comes out a new view which is called Radical Psychiatry. This view
criticise a family life. According to Laing, being a part of a family may cause mental illness. "The
experience and behaviour that gets labelled `schizophrenic', is a special strategy that a person invents in
order to live an unliveable situation." Laing (1970) On the other hand, according to functionalists, The
Radical Psychiatry ignores the positives of family life.
This new view made the society to reject the traditional values of family. There was a notice of
experiments with alternative families. For example the cohabitation and homosexuality were accepted.
Divorce is made easier and women begin to be attractive for employers. They are more likely to start
their career jobs.
The society also noticed a new movement which is called Feminism. Feminism argues that women suffer
because of their gender. The liberal feminists focused on the increase equality between a man and a
woman. They want to make men to take an active role in housework ­ `New Man'. The Radical Feminists
tend to look at men in more strict and negative way. They argue that men do very little housework
compared to woman - women do `triple shifts'. According to the Radical Feminists, men may use violence
against women. The marriage is seen as a type of prison and men are the only ones who benefit from
marriage. The Radical Feminists support single parent families and divorce. Because of feminists' strong
voice, this leads to increase of divorce rates and, of course, to increase of single parent families. "We
see the familial basis of domestic groups as an important element in continuing the patriarchal nature of
our society: that is, in the continuance of men's dominance over women and children." Delphy and
Leonard (1992) Black Feminists tend to be critical of other feminists. They argue that other (white)
feminists ignore the ethnic differences. They say that their ethnicity is as important as their gender.
Marxist Feminists also look at the family in negative way but they see as the biggest problem the
capitalism. They argue that because of capitalism women are `takers shits' and only useful when there
are jobs to fill.
In 1980s ­ middle 1990s, the society starts panic about the single parenthood. The New Right sees single
parenthood as a breakdown of `traditional family values' and they are also against cohabitation and
Eva Dvorakova, Family and Household

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Norman Dennis and George Erdos (Families Without Fathers, 2000) said that growing up without
father has a huge effect on boys. On average, these boys are not responsible later in their own lives and
they are immature even in adulthood. Charles Murray, the American sociologist, believes that boys who
live just with their mothers will turn to drug abuse or street crime.…read more

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In the white ways of doing things the family is not so
important. The police and soldiers take care of protecting you, the courts give you justice, the post office
carries the messages for you, the school teaches you. Everything is taken care of, even your children, if
you die, but with us the family must do all of that". Aginsky (1968)
Barnard. A, Burgess. T (1996)
Sociology Explained
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p. 123
Haralambos. M, Holborn. M, Heald.…read more

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Best. S, Griffiths. J, Hope. T(2000)
Active Sociology
Essex, Pearson Education Limited
Kidd. W, Abbott. D, Czerniawski. G(2003)
Heinemann Sociology AS for AQA
Oxford, The Bath Press
Mc Neill. P, Blundell. J, Graffiths.…read more


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