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Possible sociology questions
January 2012
Item 2A
Sociologists analyse the domestic division of labour in many different ways. Parsons
describes the division of labour in the traditional nuclear family in terms of an expressive role
and an instrumental role. However, this traditional arrangement may have changed as
families have changed,…

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One factor causing this is the decline in the fertility rate, partly due to women choosing to delay
having children. These changes have affected the position and status of children in society. Some
sociologists suggest that these changes have led to an improvement in the position of children, while

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Some sociologists argue that a number of changes have taken place in gender roles and
relationships within families. They suggest that changing attitudes to gender roles and
increased participation by women in the labour market have led to more equality in modern
family life. For example, Gershuny (1992) found that…

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recognised as work at all. However, some sociologists suggest that feminist theories ignore
the extent of family diversity. In fact, family roles and relationships are varied and therefore
women's experiences of family life are more diverse than some feminists suggest.

0 6 Explain what is meant by the `social construction'…

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questioned functionalist ideas about how it evolved to become the
`ideal' type of family in modern societies.

Using material from Item 2B and elsewhere assess the functionalist
theory of the family. (24 marks)

(a)Examine the relationship between the nuclear family and social
policy. (24 marks)
Examine the ways in which…

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According to Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim (1995), individuals today
are increasingly required to make choices about how they live. They argue that
this trend has important consequences for the stability of marriage. In the past,
individuals had little choice: everyone was expected to marry and once married,
the gender…

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per cent were over the age of 65, but by 2007, this had risen to 16 per cent.
This growing proportion of elderly people and a relatively smaller proportion of
young people has a number of effects on family life. For example, there are
signs that the extended family may…

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Marriage, and the roles and relationships within it, continue to be an unequal
`partnership'. The domestic division of labour may not be as clear-cut as it once
was, but it is still a highly gendered division in most marriages. Just as the
employment structure continues to discriminate against women in…

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Item 2B- A popular image of the family has been the `cereal
packet' nuclear family norm of a married couple and two children
who are the couple's biological offspring. The husband is the main
breadwinner and the wife is primarily concerned with housework
and childcare. It could be argued that…

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childrenís vulnerability means that they need to be shielded from the dangers and

responsibilities of the adult world. Childhood has become a specially protected

and privileged time of life.

Yet children were not always viewed this way. Until the 17th century, childhood

was regarded as a brief period of primary…


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