Sociology – Family Unit – Dimensions Of Diversity

Notes on family diversity and dimensions of diversity for AS Sociology

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  • Created on: 25-03-08 16:29
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Sociology ­ Richard
Emma Rudd BMA
Sociology ­ Family Unit ­ Dimensions of Diversity:
Organisational, Cultural, Class, Regional, Lifecycle, Cohort and Sexuality
Functionalists argue that the nuclear family is still the most common or has been replaced
by a similar type of reconstituted family structure. Others accept that family life is certainly
changing, but regard this as a sign of moral decay. The New Right are in great favour of a
return of traditional family values, where as feminists and postmodernists welcome and
celebrate the diversity of family structures in modern societies.
Rapoports et al. argue that the nuclear family is by no means the only way to organise living
arrangements and they are very critical of the New Right.
Organisational Diversity
There are variations in family structure, household type, patterns of kinship network, and
differences in the division of labour within the home, i.e. dual worker families in which the
husband and wife both work. There are also increasing numbers of reconstituted families.
Cultural Diversity
Cultural diversity refers to the way groups in society have different lifestyles or cultures and
one aspect of this is the way they construct families. One major advantage of living in a
multiethnic society is the contribution different ethnic groups make to diversity in society.
Family Formation in a MultiCultural Society
Richard Berthoud argues that the families of Caribbean's, Whites and South Asians can
be placed on a continuum, with those characterised by `old fashioned values' (OFV) on one
end and those characterised by `modern individualism' (MI) on the other end. He argues that
family relationships are moving from OFE to MI.
Some statistics about Caribbean families / relationships:
Caribbean relationships are characterised by a low rate of marriage.
They are less likely to live with a partner, and if they have a partner they are less likely
to marry them.
If married they are more likely to separate/divorce.
Amongst British born Caribbean's half of the men with a partner live with white
women and one third of women live with white men.
Half of Caribbean mothers are single.
One half of the lone parent families depend on income support.
Only a quarter of Caribbean children live with two black parents.
Berthoud argues that the trends above may lead either to the decline, or increasing isolation
of blackness as an independent identity.

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Sociology ­ Richard
Emma Rudd BMA
In 1973 almost all white young people were single and living with their parents until aged 16,
and by 35 the majority were married and had children. By 1996 the majority of young adults
were still staying at home just as long but were getting married and having children much
later, if at all. Alternative intermediate positions were now available: single but living away
from parents, oneparent families, cohabiting, married without children.…read more

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Sociology ­ Richard
Emma Rudd BMA
Sexual Diversity
There have been a number of studies of homosexual couples and children. It is generally
found that there is more equality between partners. It is also suggested that same sex
couples work harder at relationships in terms of commitment because they face so many
external pressures and criticisms. However research also indicates that they may face the
same problems as heterosexual couples, i.e. in terms of domestic violence.…read more


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