Families and Households

quick revision of unit 1 of new AQA syllabus.

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  • Created on: 04-04-10 16:48
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What is a family?
A group of people who are related by kinship ties: relation of blood, marriage or adoption.
What is a household?
One person or a group of people who share living arrangements.
Forms of family and marriage
Monogamy The state of having only one sexual partner at any one time.
Sexual monogamy refers to two persons/creatures who remain sexually
exclusive with each other and have no outside sex partners
Serial monogamy A series of long or short term, exclusive sexual relationships entered into
consecutively over the lifespan.
Arranged marriage A marriage arranged by someone other than the couple getting wedded,
curtailing or avoiding the process of courtship.
Polygamy Any form of marriage in which a person [has] more than one spouse at the
same time
Polyandry One woman having more than one husband
Polygyny One man having more than one wife
Nuclear family A family group consisting of only a father and mother and their children, who
share living quarters, only two generations in one household.
The family can be of any size, as long as the family can support itself and
there are only children and two parents.
Extended family Any group of kin (people related by blood, marriage or adoption) extended
beyond the nuclear family.
Family may be extended vertically (e.g. grandparents)
Family may be extended horizontally (e.g. aunts, uncles) or both.
Patriarchal Male dominated.
Feminists use this term to describe a society based on male domination; a
system or ideology of male power over women.
Matriarchal Form of society, in which the leading role is taken by the women and
especially by the mothers of a community.
o Domestic division of labour
This is the roles that men and women play in relation to housework, childcare and paid work.
Parsons ­ instrumental and expressive roles
This is a traditional nuclear family view of husbands and wives.
The husband plays the instrumental role. He is the breadwinner. He provides for the
family financially.
The wife plays the expressive role. She is the homemaker. She is a housewife rather
than a wage-earner.
Elizabeth Bott - joint and segregated conjugal roles
Segregated conjugal roles are when couples have separate roles in the family, i.e.
Parson's instrumental and expressive roles. Their leisure activities are usually
different too.
Joint conjugal roles are when couples share tasks such as housework and childcare
and spend their leisure time together.
o Murdock ­ 4 functions
The family teaches that sexual relations should
only take place in a socially approved context.
1 Sexual (sexual regulation)
Family gives a way to regulate sexual
relationships also. If families didn't exist, you

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wouldn't know who your family was, and may
accidentally have sex with them.
Reproduction The family gives the stability for reproduction
and rearing of children.
Primary socialisation of children, they learn the
3 Socialisation values of society. This is called the value
4 Economic Families provide shelter for their members.
Children are safe in a family.
o Secondary socialisation is when other institutions exert an influence e.g. school, peer group, mass
media.…read more

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o The family is an oppressive institution that stunts the development of human personalities and
individuality. There is a dark side to family like that functionalist accounts play down.
Radical feminism
o Family meets the needs of patriarchy by socialising children into traditional gender roles, which mean
as breadwinners and women as responsible for housework and childcare.
o The family is a social institution responsible for the reproduction of unequal roles for men and women.…read more

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Changes in the family since industrialisation
1. Decline in marriage and growth in cohabitation
2. Remarriage resulting in reconstituted families
3. More births outside marriage
4. Growth of the lone parent family
5. Rising divorce rates
6. Decline in family size
7. More child centred families
8. More symmetrical families
9. Weakening of extended kinship links
10. Growth in singlehood
Loss of functions
Parsons said there is structural differentiation.…read more

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1. There is a need in industrial societies for geographical 1. Laslett said that the typical family before
mobility. Modern industrial society has a specialized industrialisation was never the extended
division of labour ­ a wide range of different family. He said only 10% of households
occupations with different incomes and lifestyles. contained kin beyond the nuclear family. He
says it was the nuclear family that allowed
industrial society to emerge.
2.…read more

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o Surveys show that women are limited in the jobs they do because of childcare,
e.g. they have to be at home and take children to and from school.
o Women receive less pay, job security and promotion.
o 40% of women in paid employment only work part time.
o Middle aged women who may be looking to have children may put off
companies from hiring them as they may seem unreliable.…read more

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The changing roles of women. Because they are more economically independent, it has
given them more freedom to choose their relationships.
Growing secularisation
Changing social attitudes and reduced social stigma.
Greater availability of contraception.
Higher expectations of marriage.
o Singlehood
1 in 3 houses contain only one person.
Half of these are people over a pensionable age,
There is a growth in younger people living along however.…read more

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Differences between children in the same society show
3 INDUSTRIAL/MODERN us that poorer children have different experience of
childhood than well off children.
Child centeredness in contemporary Britain shows us
family activities etc being focused on the interests of
the child. Families have also gotten smaller so have more
devotion to their small amount of children. More money
is also spent on these children. Compulsory education
forces children to rely on their parents for longer also.…read more

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Social Policy
Labour and Conservative Parties (Manifesto 1997) See government policy as important.
Believe that families are at the core of society.
They should teach right from wrong and be the
first defence against anti-social behaviour.
They say marriage provides strong foundations
for stable relationships.
The New Right Endorses the cereal packet view of the traditional
See the family being under threat from increasing
divorce laws and rising lone parent families.…read more


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