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The Family ­ G672

Key Concepts of the Family

George Peter Murdock's definition of the family is that it only includes members
of the nuclear family; this includes two generations of parents and their

Not all societies have nuclear families...

1) Kathleen Gough (1959) found that wives in southern…

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threat, they believe that the stability of society depends upon strong
families, with a male breadwinner and a female responsible for most
of the domestic labour.

The cereal Packet Image of The Family

According to Ann Oakley (1982) marketing and advertising
often tries to sell products to what it sees…

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Extended families

These types of families include kin in addition to the members of the
nuclear family, for example a third generation of grandparents as well as
parents and children.

The ideology of the nuclear family suggests that in Britain today extended
families are no longer very important.

Young and…

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emotional support in times of crisis

Although some kin may live some distant apart, the rising of living standards, car
ownership and technological developments make it much easier to keep in
contact with one another. McGlone found that contacts remained frequent, with
the working class, having more contact with kin…

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- Greater employment opportunities for women make it easier for them to
afford to live alone.

Trends within the family size..

As well as the fall in average household size there has been a fall in family
size. Family size relies on the birth and fertility rate.

The Birth Rate…

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A decline in birth and fertility rates means that women are delaying their
childbearing. Women who delay the birth of their first child until they are too old
may not remain fertile long enough to have large numbers of children.

Falling infant mortality rates are due to rising living standards,…

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increase in cohabitation

greater emphasis on individualism

Trends in divorce, marital breakdown and remarriage

Divorce ­ legal ending of a marriage

Separation ­ physical separation of spouses so that they live apart

`Empty-shell' marriages ­ husbands and wives who continue to live together and
remain legally married but the relationship…

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Functionalist theories of the family

Functionalists see society as an interrelated whole. To functionalists every
institution in society performs one or more important functions of jobs
and they assume this helps society run smoothly.

George Peter Murdock believes that the family is an institution vital to
the well being of…

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agriculture together. Although, the nuclear family was more necessary

1) Industry required a geographically mobile workforce which could move to
where new families were build, this was harder for extended families.

2) Socially mobile workforce was also necessary. In extended families there
was conflict between young and older males…

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Macro ­ look at how the basic needs of society as whole are met

Structural ­ examines how the main institutions of society fit together and meet
basic needs

Consensus ­ achieved through shared values and norms produced through

Marxists Theories of the family

according to Karl Marx and…


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