Family diversity


Individualisation thesis


Any fixed role  in society has collapsed 

No structure in societ- build identity however we want- a path of self discovery.

Don't have to be in a relationship now, we are completely free to choose (disemedded from and duty you needed to follow)

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Negotiated family


We live in a risk society where tradition has less influence and people have more choice.

Patriarchal family undermined in 2 ways:

Greated gender equality (challenging male dominance in all spheres of life) and Greater individualism (everyones actions caluculated based on self-interest not obligation to anybody else).

This is a non-conforming familt that varies based on the expectations and wishes of those within. Enter the relationship on an equal basis and it remains that way.

However, this family is less stable because individuals are free to leave if the family isn't negotiating the 'correct' roles for them. This leads to an increased amount of family diversity due to the negotiated family  taking on any structure and when the negotiated family breaks down, that individual joins a different structured family, e.g lone person. 

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Zombie family


Family in Postmodern times is seen as a place of relaxation, security and support, regardless of the structure the family takes. The members are in it because they love their partner and wish to remain with that partner until it no longer suits their needs. 

HOWEVER, the family isn't secure due to the great risks and uncertainty that we have in our society. People wish the family to be a place of security however, because it is so insecure in itself, being inside this unit makes it insecure for all involved.

The family appears to be a living, functioning institution however, in reality it is dead- no security, no structure and full of risk= ZOMBIE

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Choice and equality


2 main reasons why family and marriage have been transformed by greater choice and more equal relationships between men and women-

  • Contraception- allowed for sex and intimacy without reproduction allowing for a closer relationship and reproduction not being the only reason for sex
  • Women have gained independence as a result of feminism and because of greater opportunities in education and work.

Because of this the basis of marriage and relationships has changed.

Couples can now define themselves and their own relationship rather than in the past being guided by powerful norms against divorce and laws. 

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Pure relationship


These relationships exist solely to meet each partners needs. The relationship only survives if both partners think it is worth investing time in. 

Couples stay together due to attraction, happiness and love rather than contracts and a sense of duty e.g children. If they fall out of love then they just leave as the relationship is no longer suiting their needs.

However, these relationships are less stable due to the freedom and instability. The contract of the relationship can come to an end at any time so creates large amounts of family diversity because people go from cohabitating to marriage to divorce to lone households within a quick period of time. 

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Same-sex couples


More equal and not influenced by tradition at all.

This is due to there being no set norms and contractual behaviours for same-sex couples due to them previously being viewed as stigmatised and illegal relationships.

Weston- Same sex couples create supportive 'families of choice' among friends, former lovers and biological kin.

Weeks- 'Chosen families' - friendship networks functioned as family networks for same sex couples. Family is what you make it.

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Postmodern family


She looked at women with professional careers and interviewed about roles in family.

They say that roles are equal within their family.

They reject the housewife stereotype, women now make all the decisions- males would have controlled their lives in the past however, now women control everything.

They have an active role in the family in postmodernity, complete opposite to the past.

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5 types of diversity


They believe we have moved away from the nuclear family into a range of different family types.

Rapports see diversity as a positive response to people's needs and wishes.

A range of families exist but all nuclear with 5 differences-

  • Organisational diversity- the differences in the way families are organised e.g Joint and seperate conjugal roles
  • Cultural diversity- different cultural, religious and ethnic groups have different family structures e.g black maritofocal household
  • Class diversity- the result of different incomes e.g mc nuclear, wc lone parent.
  • LIfe stage- family diversity depends on what part of your life you are at e.g young cohabitate, old lone person.
  • Generational- e.g young live in equal households and old in traditional (instrumental and expressive) 
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Neo-conventional family


  • This written from a functionalist perspective.
  • Neo=new and Conventional family= nuclear                   

-so this is the new nuclear family; a change from 1 earner households to dual earner

^postive as it equalises the division of labour

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Connectedness thesis


We aren't as free as we think we are when making our own choices in relationships

E.g you can't get away from people you've had previous relationships with due to children for example.

^They will always be a family and they can't escape that.

A web of connectedness- once you're connected to someone you always will be theres no unconnecting from the web.

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