AQA Sociology revision cards - The Family (sociologists)

Revision cards for AQA Sociology AS Level on Sociologist's views and theories for families and households.

* Coloured cards (FROM CARD 17) split sociologists in a different way. If you prefer the coloured cards, you don't need the black and white ones - the coloured ones cover everything the black and white ones do and more. After making a few black and white cards, I realised they were too in-depth and would take forever, so the coloured ones are in a different format. The coloured cards still cover all the topics, but in a more concise way and miss out unneccesary details :) sorry its a bit confusing - good luck!


The Domestic Division of Labour - Talcott Parsons

The Domestic Division of Labour

Talcott Parsons (1995)

  • In Parson's functionalist view of family, there is clear division of labour between the sexes.
  • Husband has an instrumental role - he is breadwinner, providing for family financially.
  • Wife has an expressive role - she is homemaker, full-time housewife meeting family's emotional needs + socialising children.
  • Parson's argues that such a division of labour is based on biological differences and that each sex is 'naturally suited' to their role.
  • Claims such roles are benificial to men, women, their children and wider society.
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The Domestic Division of Labour - Criticisms of Pa

The Domestic Division of Labour                                    

Criticisms of Parson's view

  • Young and Willmott (1962) 
    • Men are now taking greater responsibility for domestic tasks.
    • More wives are becoming wage earners
  • Feminist Sociologists
    • Reject Parson's view that division is 'natural'.
    • Argue that such a division only benefits men.
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Joint and Segregated Conjugal Roles - Elizabeth Bo

Joint and Segregated Conjugal Roles

Elizabeth Bott (1957)

  • Bott identified two types of conjugal roles (roles within marriage)
    • Segregated Conjugal Roles - couple have seperate roles, man is breadwinner + woman homemaker. Leisure activities also seperate
    • Joint Conjugal Roles - couples share housework + childcare and spend leisure time together.


Young and Wilmott found segregated conjugal roles in a study of traditional working class families in Bethnal Green in the 1950s. Men were the breadwinners and women the full-time housewives. Women were helped by female relatives and any leisure time was spent with their female kin.

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The Symmetrical Family - Young + Willmott (1973)

The Symmetrical Family

Young + Willmott (1973)

  • Take a 'march of progress' view on family life.
  • Argue there has been a gradual move away from segregated conjugal roles and towards joint conjugal roles - The Symmetrical Family.
  • They claim that in a symmetrical family, the roles of husbands and wives are similar, though not identical.
    • Women go out to work, whether full of part-time.
    • Men assist with housework and childcare.
    • Couples spend leisure time together - more home-centered.
  • Found symmetrical family more common in younger couples, the affluent and the socially/geographically isolated.
  • See rise in symmetrical nuclear family as due to changes in the position of women, geographical mobility, higher standards of living + new technology making home nicer place.
  • Many such factors are interlinked, one leading onto another.
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A Feminist View of Housework - Ann Oakley (1974)

A Feminist View of Housework

Ann Oakley (1974)

  • Criticises Young + Willmott's claims of a symmetrical family. She argues their claims are exaggerated - men 'helping' could be making breakfast once.
  • In her own research, Oakley found some evidence of husbands helping but no trend towards symmetry.
  • She found that although husbands occupied the kids in the evenings and at weeknds, it could be argued that mothers lost the rewards of childcare, instead being left with more time for housework.


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The Rise of the Housewife Role - Ann Oakley

The Rise of the Housewife Role

Ann Oakley

  • Rather than taking a march of progress view, Oakley claims that the housewife role has become the dominant role for married women.
  • She sees industrialisation and the rise of factory production in the 19th century as seperating work and home life.
  • Women were gradually excluded from paid work, confining them to the home and domestic duties such as housework and childcare.
  • She claims this enforced women's subordination and economic dependency on men.
  • Therefore, housewife role socially constructed and not women's natural or biological role, as Parsons claims.
  • She says that although more women are now in full-time work, the housewife role is still women's main role.
  • She also claims that many of the jobs accessable to women are low-paid 'caring' jobs which are an extension of the housewife role, e.g. nursing.
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A Feminist View of Housework - Boulton and Hetheri

A Feminist View of Housework

Mary Boulton (1983)

  • Found that less than 20% of husbands had a major role in childcare.
  • She also argued that Young + Willmott exaggerated men's contribution by focusing on tasks involved in childcare rather than the resonsibilities.
  • Almost always the mother responsible for child's safety and well-being.

Alan Warde + Kevin Hetherington (1993)

  • Conducted research and found that sex-typing of domestic tasks still exists.
  • Men would only do 'female' jobs when wife not around to do them.
  • However, they did find a slight change of attitude in younger men.
    • No longer assumed women should do all the housework.
    • More likely to think they were doing less than their fair share.
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The Trend Towards Equality - Gershuny (1994)

The Trend Towards Equality

Jonathan Gershuny (1994)

  • Claims that more women working full-time has lead to more equal domestic division of labour.
  • Argues that social values are gradually adapting to the fact that women are working full-time.
  • Also found that although division of labour now more equal, men and women still take responsibility for different tasks.
  • Gershuny's view is optimistic and similar to Young + Willmott's march of progress view that conjugal roles are becoming more symmetrical.

Rosemary Crompton (1997)

  • Accepts Gershuny's evidence, but explains it in terms of economic factors.
  • She claims that as long as earnings remain unequal, so too will the division of labour.
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The Commercialisation of Housework - Silver and Sc

The Commercialisation of Housework

Hilary Silver (1987) and Juliet Schor (1993)

  • They stress the importance of two major economical developments that have lightened the burden of housework on women.
    • Housework now 'commercialised' - goods housewives would previously make themselves are now mass produced and widely available, e.g. freezers, ready meals, etc - reduce workload for women.
    • Women now work, so they can afford to buy such goods.
  • They argue that as a result of this, the burden on women has lightened. Schor goes as far to say that such developments have lead to 'the death of the housewife role'.

Criticisms of Silver and Schor

  • Poorer women can't afford expensive goods.
  • Also, just because burden lessened, doesn't make division of labour equal.
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The Dual Burden - Smith, Morris, Ginn and Gregson

Ferri + Smith (1996)

  • Increased employment of women outside the home has had little impact on the domestic division of labour.
  • Study of families, just 4% of fathers took main responsibility for the childcare.

Morris (1990)

  • Men who had lost their masculine role as a result of unemployment shied away form domestic work as it was seen as a 'feminine role'.

Arber + Ginn (1995)

  • WC women can't afford childcare, so have childcare and low-paid job.

Gregson + Lowe (1994)

  • Middle-class women employ working-class women to do housework. WC women have dual burden of paid and unpaid domestic work.
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Emotion Work - Hochschild, Morgan and Marsden

Emotion Work

Arlie Hochschild (1983)

  • Women more likely to do jobs involving 'emotion work', e.g. air hostess.

David Morgan (1997)

  • Caring for sick child usually done by women - 'labour of love'.

Jean Duncombe + Dennis Marsden (1995)

  • Women not only expected todo a double shift of housework and paid work but also to work a triple shift that includes emotion work.

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Lesbian Couples and Gender Scripts - Dunne and Wee

Lesbian Couples and Gender Scripts

Gillian Dunne (1999)

  • Division of labour continues due to 'gender scripts' - set roles men and women in heterosexual couples expected to conform to.
  • Lesbian couples have much more symmetry - not under pressure to conform to gender scripts - can create the kind of relationship they want.
  • Lesbian couples able to create more equal relationships.
  • Where one partner did much more paid work than the other, the division of labour was likely to be unequal.
  • This suggests that paid work has a big impact on the division of labour, even in same-sex couples.

Jeffery Weeks (1999)

  • Argues that same-sex relationships offer greater equality because division of labour open to negotiation and not based on patriarchal tradition.
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The Impact of Paid Work - SUMMARY

The Impact of Paid Work

  • Some evidence that a woman in paid work leads to more equality in the division of labour, although probably only if full-time work.
  • Many feminists argue that in reality effect of this if limited - women still shoulder double or triple burden. Also, even if men are doing more in the home, domestic tasks remain gendered.
  • Feminists argue that root of the problem is patriarchy. Say patriarchal gender scripts shape society's expectations about domestic tasks men and women should perform. Patriarchy also ensures women earn less at work and so have less bargaining power in the home. They say that until patriarchy is successfully challenged in the home and in the workplace, the domestic division of labour is likely to remain unequal.

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Domestic Violence - Mirrlees-Black and Dobash

Catriona Mirrlees-Black (1999)

  • found from her study that domestic violence follows social patterns which have social causes.
    • most victims are women, offenders men

Russell + Rebecca Dobash (1979)

  • Found that violent incidents could be set off by what a husband saw as a challenge to his authority, or 'triggers', e.g. wife asking why he was home late.
  • Argue that marriage legitimates violence against women by conferring power and authority on husbands and dependency on wives.
  • Children, the working class, alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. all at higher risk.

Radical Feminists

  • Interpret above findings as evidence of patriarchy. Argue that, within the family, men dominate women through domestic violence, or the threat of it.
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Domestic Violence, Inequality and Stress - Wilkins

Wilkinson (1996)

  • Explains such patterns as result of stress on family members caused by social inequality, e.g. some families better off than others.
  • Argues that those on better incomes live in nicer houses, etc. and so experience lower levels of stress.
  • Says money worries and job angst may spill over into domestic conflict as tempers become frayed.
  • Lack of money and time restricts people's social circle and so the support they receive when under stress.
    • Wilkinson's theory helps explain the class differences in domestic violence.
    • However, does not explain why women are the main victims.

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Industrialisation and the Nuclear Family - Parsons

Talcott Parsons (1955)

  • Argues that industrialisation brought about rise of nuclear family.
  • Two types of society; industrial and pre-industrial. Says each type contains corresponding family structure that fits its needs - there is 'functional fit'.
  • He says in pre-industrial society, dominant family structure was three generation extended family living together.
    • It was unit of economic production, work and home not seperate - family members worked together.
    • Strong obligation to help other family members.
    • Extended family met members and society's needs - employment, protection, welfare, health, etc.
  • In industrial society, dominant family structure is two-generation nuclear family.
    • Nuclear family no longer unit of production - work and home separate.
    • Nuclear family 'structurally isolated' from wider family.
    • Family has lost functions. Now, two main functions; primary socialisation of children and stabilisation of adult personalities.
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The Family - Murdock


Functionalist; family is universal institution that performs 4 major functions:

  • Stable Satisfaction of the Sex Drive - prevents social disruption caused by sexual 'free-for-all'.
  • Reproduction of Next Generation - means society able to continue.
  • Socialisation of the Young - spreading society's norms and values.
  • Meeting Member's Economic Needs - providing food, shelter, etc.

Criticisms of Murdock

  • Marxists - reject consensus view, argue that Murdock neglects dark side of family. Claim meets needs of capitalists, not family.
  • Feminists - reject consensus, 'rose-tinted' view, argue that Murdock ignores women's oppression and inequality. See family as serving needs of men and exploiting women.
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The Family - Parsons


Functionalist; family has 2 'basic and irreducible' functions:

  • Primary Socialisation of Children - happens in early stages of child's life; child learns norms, values, etc of culture they are born into.
  • Stabilisation of Adult Personalities - family provides place for adults to relax, escape stresses of working life and feel emotionally secure. 

Criticisms of Parsons

  • Too deterministic - children are moulded by all-powerful adults. Also ignores possibility of socialisation being 2-way process where by socialisation can be resisted by children.
  • Zaretsky - family only provides such emotional support so members can spend another day under harsh capitalist oppression. Family is servant to capitalist state - looks after exploited workers for free.
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The Family - Parsons (cont.)


Functionalist; dominant family structure is the one that best suits needs of economy at time:

  • Functional Fit - nuclear family 'fits' industrial society, as geographically mobile and not reliant on wider kin. Therefore can easily move to new centre of production if needed.
  • Claims only nuclear family can provide achievement-orientated and geographically mobile workforce required by modern economies.

Criticisms of Parsons

  • Young + Willmott - pre-industrial family tended to be nuclear, not extended. Also, hardship of early industrialised period gave rise to mother-centered working class extended families - relied on each other for financial and emotional support.
  • Hareven - also concludes extended family was type best equipped to meet needs of early industrial society - provide support and mutual aid.
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The Family - Overall Evaluation of Functionalist T


  • Their studies of nuclear family based on middle class American families - neglect ethnic, class and religious differences. 
  • Since Parson's time, the UK has become much more multicultural - his view no longer relevant to modern society.

Criticisms of Functionalist Theories

  • Feminists - functionalist theories ignore 'dark side' of family - child abuse, male dominance, etc. Argue there is insufficient attention towards dysfunctions of the family and harmful effects it can have.
  • Interpretivists - functionalists neglect the meanings families have for individuals and how family members interpret family relationships.
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The Family - Engels


Marxist; need for the family arose when societies began to value private property:

  • Private Property -  when introduced, an inheritance system became neccessary - fathers needed to know who their offspring were in order to pass down thier property. 
  • Need For Monogamy - so, monogamy was needed, and the family was created.
  • Family Serves Economy - by creating ownership of private property.

Criticisms of Engels

  • Modern research suggests Engel's interpretation to be historically inaccurate - monogomous marriage and nuclear family found amoung hunter-gatherers, where there is no private property.
  • Functionalists - claim family is not a vehicle for inheritence but instead plays important role in socialising children and stabilising adult personalities, etc. Also claim division of labour reflects natural expressive and instrumental roles.
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The Family - Zaretsky


Marxist; family serves capitalism by offering emotional haven from oppressive world of work:

  • Family serves capitalism by providing emotional security from oppressive world of work - thus allowing such oppression to continue.
  • In reality, only provides emotional security in order to encourage workers to keep working under capitalist oppression.

Criticisms of Zaretsky

  • Feminists - Somerville argues that Zaretsky exaggerates importance of the family as a refuge from capitalist society. She claims he ignores cruelty, violence and incest within families.
  • He also overlooks the fact that during early stages of capitalism, many working class women had to take paid work in order to survive - not many stayed at home as full-time housewives.
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The Family - Althusser + Poulantzas

Althusser + Poulantzas

Marxist; family serves the functions of an ideological state apparatus:

  • Does this through socialising both pro-capitalist ideology and its own familiar ideology in order to maintain family patterns over time.
  • e.g. family socialises members into accepting gender roles - 'natural' for men and women to have seperate roles within the family. This attitude is passed down from generation to generation.

Criticisms of Althusser + Poulantzas

  • Feminists - Althusser + Poulantzas ignore the fact that such family ideology supports patriarchy, as it suggests men and women should have different roles within the family and wider society and leads to women's oppression.
  • Functionalists - reject view that family socialises children into accepting capitalist ideology. Argue that family enables children to internalise society's culture so they can become effective functioning adults.
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The Family - Overall Evaluation of Marxist Theorie


  • Support general Marxist theory that capitalist society oppresses and exploits workers for the benefit of the bourgeoisie. 
  • See family as tool used by capitalists to keep workers suppressed.
  • Many sociologists reject Marxist view that society is capitalist, and so do not agree with the Marxist view on the family.

Criticisms of Marxist Theories

  • Feminists - argue that Marxist emphasis on social class inequalities and capitalism underestimates the importance of gender inequalities within the family. Feminists see the family as primarily serving men and not capitalists.
  • Functionalists - claim that Marxists ignore the benefits that the family provides for its members, such as intimacy and mutual support.
  • Interpretivists - neglects the meaning the family has for the individual and how family members interpret their relationships. e.g. Marxists ignore accounts from mothers about how motherhood is fulfilling and rewarding.
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The Family - Marxist Feminists

Marxist Feminists - suggest nuclear family meets the needs of capitalism by producing new workers and maintaining class and patriarchal inequality. They argue the family benefits the powerful at the expense of women and the working class.

Benston (1972)

  • Argues that nuclear family provides basic commodity required by capitalism:
    • labour power - producing and rearing future workforce
    • Maintaining emotional fitness - housewives care for workers
    • Reserve army of labour - women can be used at times of economic growth and pushed back into the housewife role when no longer needed.

Criticisms of Marxist Feminists

  • Difference Feminists - argue that not all women are equally exploited under capitalism, e.g. sexuality, ethnisity and class all affect oppression.
  • Black Feminists - emphasis on women's role within capitalism neglects black and Asian women's experiences of racism.
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The Family - Radical Feminists

Radical Feminists, e.g. Millett (1970) - modern societies and families are characterised by patriarchy, where women and children are dominated by men. Argue that the family is the root of women's oppression and should be abolished. This can only happen through separatism, where women live independently of men.


  • Talks of age patriarchy to describe adult domination of children. May take form of violence against women and children. 

Delphy + Leonard

  • See family as patriarchal instituation in which women do most of the work and men recieve most of the benefit.
  • Such patriarchal ideology stresses the fact that the housewife role is women's primary role.
  • Also see male breadwinner role as legitimating violence against women.
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The Family - Criticisms of Radical Feminists

Criticisms of Radical Feminists

  • Such a model is outdated; fails to consider feminisation of the workforce and women's use of divorce laws.
  • Liberal Feminists - Somerville argues that separatism is unlikely to work due to heterosexual attraction.
  • Hakim (1995) - such views fail to recognise the fact that some women choose to take domestic roles within the family.
  • Functionalists - radical feminists ignore the view that the family provides benefits for its members, such as intimacy and mutual support.
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The Family - Overall Evaluation of Feminist Theori

Criticisms of Feminist Theories

  • Fail to account for recent economic and social changes, e.g. feminisation of economy, educational success of young females, etc.
  • Critics also argue that feminists are preoccupied with negative aspects of family life and overlook the positives - ignore fact that many women enjoy running a home.
  • Postmodernists - argue that feminists ignore possibility of people choosing to create the relationships they want, e.g. family diversity  Feminists assume all families are manipulated in some way by patriarchal society to reproduce, etc.
  • Interpretivists - feminists neglect the meaning families have for the individual, and how family members view inter-family relationships. They ignore accounts from women who enjoy being a full-time mother and housewife.
  • Difference Feminists - criticise feminists for assuming all women share the same experiences. Class, ethnicity and sexuality alter personal experiences of the family.
  • Black Feminists - view the family positively and as a source of support against racism. Say feminists neglect black and Asian women's experiences
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Social Policy - Functionalists and Fletcher

Functionalists see state as acting in the interests of society and social policies for the good of all. They view such policies as helping families perform their functions more effectively and making life better for their members.


  • Argues that welfare state supports the family, e.g. the NHS - family now better able to take care of sick members.

Criticisms of Funtionalists and Fletcher

  • Feminists - reject functionalist view that all family members benefit from social policies. They argue that such policies often benefit men at the expense of women.
  • Marxists - disagree with functionalist 'march of progress' view that social policies have steadily made family life better and better. Instead argue that social policies often reverse progress previously made, for example by cutting welfare benefits for poorer families.
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Social Policy - New Right and Murray

New Right criticise many existing government policies for undermining the family. They argue that the family's self-reliance is often weakened by the state providing over-generous welfare benefits, e.g. council housing and cash payments.

Murray (1984)

  • Claims such benefits act as 'perverse incentives', rewarding irresponsible behaviour such as having children with no way to pay for things they will need.
  • He argues that lone-parent families have risen because of this, resulting in more boys growing up without a male authority figure. He goes on to say how this lack of parental authority is responsible for rising crime rates among young males.

Criticisms of New Right and Murray

  • Feminists - New Right views are an attempt to justify a return to traditional nuclear family that oppresses women and confines them to a domestic role.
  • Wrongly assumes the patriarchal nuclear family is 'natural'. Also, cutting benefits would simply drive many poor families into deeper poverty.
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Social Policy - Feminist and Leonard

Feminists argue that social policies simply reinforce patriarchal ideas about the roles of women. Tax and benefits policies assume man is main wage earner, meaning it can be hard for women to claim benefits in their own right, thus enforcing women's dependence on their husbands.


  • Although maternity leave policies benefit women, they reinforce patriarchy by encouraging the assumption that childcare is the responsibility of the woman.

Criticisms of Feminists and Leonard

  • Not all policies aim to maintain patriarchy, for example, equal pay and sex discrimination laws, benefits for lone parents and equal divorce rights all challenge the patriarchal family.
  • Drew - found that in more equal societies, family policy is based on the belief that husbands and wives should be treated the same and as separate individuals, equally responsible for income and childcare.
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Social Policy - Marxist

Marxists see social policies as serving capitalism. e.g. they view low state pensions as evidence that once workers are too old to produce a profit, they are 'maintained' at the lowest possible cost.

  • They do not accept the 'march of progress' view that ever better welfare policies are resulting in ever happier families.
  • They claim that improvements for working class families, such as pensions and free healthcare, have only been won through class struggle to extract concessions from the capitalist ruling class.

Criticisms of Marxists

  • Functionalists - disagree that social policy works in the favour of the ruling class. They argue that social policy benefits all members of society and that such policies allow the family to perform essential functions more effectively.
  • Feminists - claim that Marxists ignore detrimental effect of family policy on women. For example, maternity leave policies reinforce patriarchal assumptions that childcare is women's work.
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Social Policy - Donzelot


  • Similar to Marxists and Feminists in that he sees social policy as a form of state power over families.
  • He argues that social workers, health visitors and doctors use their knowledge to control and change poorer families. He calls this 'policing of families'.
  • For example, the state may seek to control and regulate family life by imposing compulsory parenting orders through the courts.
  • Parents of young offenders or truants may be forced to attend parenting classes to learn the 'correct' way to bring up their children.

Criticisms of Donzelot

  • Marxists and Feminists - criticise him for failing to clearly identify who benefits from such policies of surveillance.Marxists argue that social policies generally operate in the interests of the capitalist class, whilst feminists would say that men are the main beneficiaries.
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Family Diversity - Important trends

In the past 30/40 years, there have been some major changes in family and household patterns:

  • Number of traditional nuclear families has fallen
  • Divorce rates have increased
  • Fewer first marriages, but more remarriages
  • More couples cohabiting
  • Same-sex relationships now legally recognised
  • Women are having fewer children and having them later in life
  • More births outside marriage
  • More reconstituted families
  • More childless couples
  • Society more secular
    • New Right - dislike all of the above and say such changes are harmful. Functionalists - disagree with some of the above changes.
    • Postmodernists and Feminists disagree with the New Right and argue that a family should be whatever people choose it to be.
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Family Diversity - Functionalists and Parsons


Nuclear family uniquely suited to meeting needs of modern society. Performs two vital functions; Socialisation of the young and Stabilisation of adult personalities - contribute to overall stability and effectiveness of society.


  • Nuclear family with a division of labour between husband and wife best suited to modern society.
  • All other family types are seen as abnormal or deviant, as less able to perform functions required by the family.

Criticisms of Functionalists and Parsons

  • Since the 1950s, the UK has become much more multicultural. Religious and ethnic subcultural differences mean Parsons' views are outdated and irrelevant.
  • Ignores dark side of family, insignifficant attention to dysfunctions of family.
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Family Diversity - New Right

New Right

  • Argue that decline of the traditional nuclear family and growth of family diversity have caused many social problems, such as higher crime rates.
  • They see lone-parent families as harmful to children as single parents are unable to discipline their children and are a burden on the welfare state.
  • They claim that high benefits encourage a 'dependency culture', as it discourages men from working to support their families.

Criticisms of New Right

  • Little evidence that lone-parent families are part of 'dependency culture', nor that their children are more likely to be delinquent than those in two-parent families.
  • Feminists - traditional nuclear family favoured by the New Right is based on the patriarchal oppression of women and is a fundamental cause of gender inequality. Prevents women from working and keeps them financially dependent.
  • Rapoports - see increasing family diversity as response to people's different needs and not as a deviation from the assumed norm of the nuclear family.
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Family Diversity - Chester


  • Chester argues that the extent and importance of family diversity has been exaggerated.
  • Like functionalists, Chester sees the nuclear family as dominant, but he also recognises that the traditional nuclear family has changed to what he calls a 'neo-conventional' family, where both spouses work and the division of labour is equally shared.
  • He argues that so-called 'family diversity' is more about the lifecycle than people choosing to live in new family arrangements - most people living alone are either elderly widows or divorcees who aspire to live in a nuclear family again.

Criticisms of Chester

  • Rapoports - argue that family diversity is of vital importance in understanding family life today. Believe we have moved away from the traditional nuclear family as the dominant family type and instead towards a range of different family types. They say that families in Britain have adapted to a more diverse society.
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Family Diversity - Morgan


  • Argues that family diversity has increased as a response to a more fragmented society.
  • Says we use the concept of family practices to create our sense of 'being a family member' e.g. by feeding children or doing DIY.
  • He views the family as what people do rather than a concrete thing or structure.
  • Also argues that relationships with friends and family members have become less clear-cut, with boundaries blurring due to today's fragmented society.

Criticisms of Morgan

  • Structuralists - argue that although life courses and family practises are the actions of individuals, they take place within the context of wider social structures and norms e.g. gender differences in job opportunities may dictate that males will be the major income earners and women the homemakers. This will influence individuals' expectations of each other within the family.
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Family Diversity - Cheal


  • Argues that family diversity has increased due to more control and choice over the type of family we create.
  • As a result, family life has become more diverse than ever as people choose family structures to suit themselves.
  • In today's postmodern society, there is no longer one dominant family type, but a wide variety of families instead.

Criticisms of Cheal

  • Some sociologists point out that greater freedom of choice concerning relationships means there is a greater risk of instability, as such relationships are more likely to breakdown.
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Family Diversity - Giddens


  • Argues that family diversity has increased due to greater equality between men and women.
  • She claims that as a result, the basis of marriage and the family have changed into one in which the couple are free to define their own relationship, rather than playing pre-defined gender roles determined by tradition.
  • For example, couples can now choose to cohabit.

Criticisms of Giddens

  • Giddens himself admits that with more choice comes less stability - personal relationships can easily be ended by either partner at will.
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Family Diversity - Stacey


  • Argues that change in the position of women has increased family diversity.
  • Found that women have been the main agents of change within the family. Most of the women she interviewed had rejected the traditional 'homemaker' role, instead creating new types of family to suit their lifestyle.
  • One such type Stacey dubbed the 'divorce-extended' family, whose members are connected by divorce not marriage. Key members are usually female and may include former in-laws.
  • Such cases illustrate that families are diverse and that their shape depends on the active choices people make about their lives, e.g. whether to divorce, etc.
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Family Diversity - Weeks


  • Identified a long-term shift in attitudes towards sexual and family diversity since the 1950s.
  • Personal opinions have become more favourable towards issues such as cohabitation and homosexuality.
  • As a result of such declining stigma, family diversity has increased.

Criticisms of Weeks

  • Despite these changing attitudes, family patterns still tend to be fairly traditional; most people still live in a family, most children are brought up by couples, etc.
  • Some sociologists have suggested that these changes have led to a 'crisis of masculinity', where by men experience anxiety about their role.
  • It has been argued that as a result, domestic violence has increased as men try to find a way to re-assert their traditional masculinity.
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Changes Within the Family - Are Domestic Roles Bec

(  Young + Willmott

  • Extended family has been replaced by privatised nuclear family characterised by 'symmetry'. Modern marriage characterised by conjugal roles, with women working and men doing fair share of domestic tasks. Couples also more likely to share leisure time and decision-making.

(  Burghes + Beck

  • Suggest fathers are taking a more active role in the emotional side of bringing up children, even when marriages breakdown. However, important not to exaggerate men's involement in childcare - research by Gray found many fathers would like to spend more time with their children but can't due to long working hours.

(  Sullivan

  • His data suggested that men are now doing more domestic tasks, creating a shift towards gender equality. Increase in couples with equal division of labour.
43 of 50

Changes Within the Family - Are Domestic Roles Bec

( Oakley

  • Argues that Young + Willmott's claim of increasing symmetry is based on suspect methodology - one interview which was worded in a way that exaggerated the amount of housework done by men.

( British Social Attitudes Survey (2007)

  • Found more sharing of child-rearing than domestic tasks, although was some movement towards more equal division of labour over time.

( Ferri + Smith

  • Used survey data to focus on childcare. Found that in almost every type of household, woman took main responsibility for childcare, even when woman was in paid employment and man was not.
44 of 50

Changes Within the Family - Are Domestic Roles Bec

( Elston

  • Did survey of 400 couples where both partners were doctors and found that 80% of the female doctors took time off work to care for sick children, compared with just 2% of male doctors - only minority of professional couples share childcare.

( Hardill

  • In her study of 30 dual-career professional couples, important decisions usually taken by the man or jointly, and that his career normally took priority when deciding on whether to move house for a new job.

( Pahl and Vogler

  • Focused on how each partner's contribution to family income affects decision-making. Found 'pooling' incomes through joint bank account was on the increase, especially among couples who both worked full-time. However, major financial decisions usuallly made by men.
45 of 50

Changes Within the Family - Do Working Women Exper

( Man-Yee Kan

  • Found that better paid, younger, more educated women did less housework - every £10 000 increase in the woman's income meant 2 hours less housework a week.

( Schor + Silver

  • Housework has become commercialised - goods and services housewives previously produced themselves now mass-produced, e.g. freezers, ready meals. Working women can afford such luxuries and so don't have to do so much housework.

( Gershuny

  • Found that husbands of working women continued to do less than half of the total paid and unpaid work of their partners, however men did seem to be doing more housework when their wives were in paid work.
46 of 50

Changes Within the Family - Do Working Women Exper

( Arber + Ginn

  • Middle class women able to afford full-day childcare, can go out to work. Working class women unable to afford childcare and therefore have dual burden of childcare and low-paid, part-time work.

( Gregson + Lowe

  • Their study of domestic 'help' in dual-earner, middle class families found that for such families, it was more economical to employ nannys and cleaners than for the woman to stay at home. Working class women who can't afford such 'help' suffer dual burden of paid and unpaid domestic work.

( Dunne

  • Despite the fact that more women now work, there have been little changes in the domestic division of labour due to deeply ingrained 'gender scripts' - expectations that set out different gender roles in heterosexual couples.
47 of 50

Changes Within the Family - Do Working Women Exper

( Dunscombe + Marsden

  • Many women in their study expressed dissatisfaction at their partners emotional involvement in the family. Most men did not acknowledge that 'emotion work' is needed to make a relationship work. To compensate, many women ended up doing a triple shift of paid work, domestic work and emotion work.

( Hardill

  • Studied 30 dual-career professional couples and found that important decisions were taken either by the man or jointly, and that his career took priority.

( Pahl + Vogler

  • Focused on how each partner's contribution to family income affects decision-making. Found 'pooling' incomes through joint bank account was on the increase, especially among couples who both worked full-time. However, major financial decisions usuallly made by men.
48 of 50

Domestic Violence - Dobash + Dobash

Dobash + Dobash (1992)

  • Still cultural support for the view that men have a 'right to discipline' their wives.
  • There has also been little institutional support for battered wives from society.
  • One of the major factors precipitating assaults was the husband's perception that their wife was not performing her domestic duties to his satisfaction.
  • Society promotes a division of labour which allocates the majority of the domestic duties to women, thus leaving them vulnerable to criticism/possible assault.
  • Their study also showed how many women remain economically dependent on men, since they are poorly paid by their employers. Therefore, many women who leave abusive husbands are forced to return for financial reasons.
  • Radical feminists interpret this as evidence that widespread domestic violence is a given in patriarchal society and serves to preserve men's power over women.
49 of 50

Domestic Violence - Dobash + Dobash (cont.)

Criticisms of Dobash + Dobash

  • Elliot - rejects radical feminist view that all men benefit from domestic violence, as the majority of men are opposed to domestic violence.
  • Also, radical feminists do not explain female violence such as child abuse, etc.
50 of 50


Gwen Moulder


Wow! These must have taken you forever!! Thank you! They are great!!!

molly povey


they did! But I got an A in the end so all worth it :) hope they helped



Oh Molly your a lifesaver if am honest. Haha. They really are awesome. Nice one! Love it. Haha. X




This helped me so much thank you !..

i am so behind on all my work, and in fear of getting kicked out of my sixth form, This shoud hopefully help me be able to get a decent grade! :)

Dean Wallis


omfggggg thank you so much!!!!

Dean Wallis


omfggggg thank you so much!!!!



amazingg thankyouuu! nearly got kicked out of school today so this is very helpfull!

var geo_Partner = 'ba3e2592-647d-4756-ac81-5453f8b0c951'; var geo_isCG = true;

Former Member


You are amazing, I was told to revise sociologists but I have so little time that I had decided a B would just have too do, but thanks to you I should get an A now :D YOU ARE A STAR!!!

Former Member


You are amazing, I was told to revise sociologists but I have so little time that I had decided a B would just have too do, but thanks to you I should get an A now :D YOU ARE A STAR!!!



I LOVE THESE!! amazing job!! .. do you have revision cards on education and research methods ?



Thank god for u man, tomorow is my exam these things will help with testing my knowledge. Cheers =]



tomorrow is my exam, and i havent revised. LOL (genius idea)

let's see how helpful these will be, for last minute revision!

They look really good to me :)

molly povey


I'm glad they've helped :) This time I haven't done revision cards online because these ones took me so long but I'm trying to learn more theory with less sociologists. The exams tomorrow so there's not much I can do now but hope these were useful, good luck :)



this is great thanks alot!

sana afzal


thank you so muchh.. i am trying to get some revision started early.. and these are a really good basis for that! thank youu so muchh :) x



Oh my word! These are brilliant! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

Rachel Stead


WOW these are goonna help with my re-take!



Thanks sooo much!!!! this is going to help me revise a lot better! :)



Thankyou soooooooooooooo much, now i can revise and hopefull get an A lol



These are gona help, so much. Thank you. 

Hoping to get an A!! 

andrea lee


very helpful thank you :)



thank you!! :D



thanks u soooooo much for this holly, u see my teachers has fallen ill and we have a cover teacher which is rubish and im am sooooooooo like behind, thnakyou 4 this : )



thanks u soooooo much for this holly, u see my teachers has fallen ill and we have a cover teacher which is rubish and im am sooooooooo like behind, thnakyou 4 this : )



thanks u soooooo much for this holly, u see my teachers has fallen ill and we have a cover teacher which is rubish and im am sooooooooo like behind, thnakyou 4 this : )



LIFE SAVERR!!! thanks so much, I havent revised very much so far.. But with this i can hopefully get a low/stable B.



absolutely fantastic. which you were my teacher



Thanks this is very helpful :)



Thanks this is very helpful :)



ohh thanx gr8 notes=)

jess smith


thanks so much these helped loads especailly cause i cant actually write notes i fing it frustating. :)

jess smith


thanks so much these helped loads especailly cause i cant actually write notes i fing it frustating. :)



ahhh thank you for these! theyre fab I hope they make me do well for my exams xoxoxoxx

Robel Yoseph


thank you soo much,

you are just exceptional! (fullstop)

Matt Rogers


these are amazing thanks! the sociologists views are the things that i cannot remember so to just have them are a real lifesaver! thanks ever so much



Thank you so much



Wow thankyou so much i have been really stressed about the exam and with these  can prob get a B thank you .



does this include all the 8 topics that i need to know for sociology ?

it is really good by the way. excellent points you made there 



Thanks so much for posting this, these cards are really helpful! 

SGT Griffy


Thank You! 

Helping me to remember some of the main theories very well :) 



They are greattt! Why doesnt it let me download it to my computer for me to see them all completley?? :/



Thank youuu!! xoxo



Thank youuu!! xoxo



These are really good, was just about to make some like this but then isaw these. They are soo helpful! And love the colour coding! Thankss :)



These are so useful, definitely more likely to revise with these :)



looks great

thanks alot

Jenni L


thanks you :)

Bethany Daniel


Two weeks until my exam, I haven't been taught anything but my **** teacher only the economic base which we don't need to know! 9 months what have I been doing! Hopefully these help



thank youuuuuuuuuuu so much, absolutely needed these and am going to defo be reading them to death until tomorrow. Seriously thanks so much.



Thank you so much! :) 

Owen Havire






thankyou so much! i've needed to make something like this for so long and i never got round to doing it because i've had 3 other subjects to revise for, you are a life saver!! 



Thank you sooooooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!

Stormy Music


Wow, these are great revision cards ! Thanks so much :D



THANKYOU!!!! life saver, 4 days till my exam and these will be sick



awh this is grreeeeat, i have 4 days till my AS sociology exam and hopefully i get a good grade and not have to retake is june......



these are great!! i have 1 day till my exam and these r FAB!





omg amazing!!! im retaking this definately going to help me, thankyou so mcuh god bless **

Rukhsaar Akhtar


Molly ou star thankkkkk youu ***



These are utterly brilliant, thank-you so much for sharing with us. These are going to help a lot.

Jessica Evans


Thanks molly!



My friends and I love these cards, thank you so much!

Jonathan Phillips-Swaray


Retaking my Sociology Unit 1 soon and these are very useful thank you for the effort



exams on monday hope these work!!! thank youuuuu molly.




what unit is this for? 



do you think you could do one on education/research methods



this was soo helpful !! got all the important notes i need now, exam is on monday hope it goes well



WOW!! thank you so much....this is sooo good :)



Thanks you so much :-)

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