Families and Households

key concepts and theorists of the topic!

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Willmott and Young

  • March of progress
  • Noted gradual change from SCR to JCR
  • Family is becoming more symmetrical.
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  • Feminist Writer
  • march of progress sociologists over exaggerate the contribution of men
  • family is not symmetrical
  • family is patriarchal
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Gender Scripts - the different gender orles that men and women in a heterosexual couple are expected to play.

Lesbian Couples

  • No specific roles set
  • More equal
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Pahl and Vogler

When both partners work, they have joint responsibility for spending household income.

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Very important decisions (moving house) are made by men.

Less important decisions (what food) are made by women.

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Dobash and Dobah

Domestic Violence is triggered by trivial challenges to a husbands authority.

Marriages can cause violence by giving too much power to men.

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Lagged Adaptation - 

  • Men are gradually adjusting to the fact that women are working full time.
  • Relationships are becoming more equal.
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Domestic Violence is caused by stress of poverty - 

Families that lack resources - suffer more stress - this increases the risk of violence.

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The position of children has gradually improved - 

  • Protected by laws
  • Benefit from higher living standards
  • Families are more child centred
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Childhood is disappearing - 

  • Children's lives are becoming very similar to adults
  • The visual culture (television/internet) is destroying the 'information hierarchy' 
  • Secrets about the adult world can no longer be kept from children.
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Toxic Childhood - 

  • Rapid technological and cultural  changes are damaging children.
  • Children lead unhealthy lifestyles (junk food, computer games, television etc)
  • Parents work too much to control/prevent this.
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Childhood continues to exist - children's games and leisure activities make their lives separate and distinct from adults.

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Fire Stone

Age Patriarchy restricts children's time, space, and bodies.

Although well intended some parents are 'wrapping their children up in cotton wool' and preventing them from developing their skills of independence

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Functionalist Sociologist - The family performs four essential functions. - 

  • Provides a stable sexual environment for adults
  • Reproduce new members of society
  • Pool resources together and share them between its members
  • Teach children society's norms and values
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Functionalist Sociologist - built on Murdock's work.

Different types of family fit themselves around different types of soceity

extended family - pre industrialisation

nuclear family - time of industrialisation

the family lost its functions with industrialisation, this was known as 'structural differentiation'. 

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Marxist Feminist - 

housewives have to absorb men's anger that would otherwise be directed at capitalism 

wives soak up the frustration that men feel from being exploited at work

'takers of ****'

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New Right Theorist - 

Believed that welfare benefits are too generous.

  • Create a 'culture of dependency' 
  • Acts as a 'perverse incentive' 

Only by reducing benefits can certain groups (the underclass) become more self reliant.

Increase in lone parent families and easier access to divorces, has lead to breakdown of traditional values and caused social problems.

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The traditional nuclear family has developed into the neo-conventional family.

  • Cohabitation exists but it is a temporary phase
  • Divorce is high but most divorcees re-marry.
  • This causes 'serial monogamy'.

The nuclear family in a slightly modified form is still the most common type of family around.

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  • There is family diversity everywhere nowadays.
  • The traditional nuclear family is no longer dominant.
  • Different families have different views on; conjugal roles, family structures, and child rearing practices.
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There are many different kinds of family arrangement - 

  • We live in a 'risk society'.
  • With more choices available, comes more risk.
  • Making choices means calculating a risk of each choice.

This leads to a new type of family which varies according to the members wishes. The negotiated family.

  • More equal / less patriarchal
  • Less stable / more divorce

members will leave if their needs are not met.

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This is very helpful to have lots of key people all in one place, thanks!

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