Family Diversity


The Rapoports

  • Britain is no longer dominated by one family type
  • The Rapoports note diversity in family structure. Family life in Britain is made up of the conventional nuclear family, cohabiting couples with children, the single-parent family and the reconstituted family
  • Diversity can be seen in the internal division of labour within families. The Rapoports argue that most nuclear families in Britain are now dual-careerfamilies. Some women will have responsibility for the bulk of child-care and housework.
  • There is also evidence that single-person households are increasing and accounted for about 30% of all households in 2010. Surveys suggest that an increasing number of young, professional women are electing to live alone.


  • Chester suggests that the Rapoports have exaggerated the degree of diversity in British society and argues that the basic features of family life have remained largely unchanged for the majority of the population since the 1950s.
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The New Right

  • The nuclear family is the best family to adequately socialise children. 
  • Families such as lone parent inadequately socialise children and often due to a lack of role model for boys, they turn to deviance. 
  • The nuclear family life is under threat due to a 'culture of dependency'.
  • New Right sociologists have suggested that social policy in Britain has resulted in the decline of the nuclear family and that this has created a range of social problems, such as unemployment, educational underachievement, rising crime rates and anti-social behaviour.
  • Therefore, family diversity is negative.


  • ignored family diversity.
  • there are still negative factors such as domestic abuse in the nuclear family.
  • culture of dependency is a myth. 
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  • The nuclear family is the best family to live in as it adequately socialises children and there are good role models.
  • The lone parent family lacks effective socialism.
  • Therefore, family diversity is negative


  • ignores family diversity
  • does not recognise the role other institutions might play
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  • Family diversity is positive.
  • Family diversity ensures that people are free to make their own decisions.
  • FD symbolises freedom from the patriarchal nuclear family. 


  • ethnocentric view of the family. 
  • some women may enjoy being a part of the patriarchal nuclear family.
  • ignores black feminism. 
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  • Family diversity is positive.
  • People are free to make their own choices due to family diversity.
  • Individualism - people make their own choices to meet their needs. 


  • Postmodernism is too idealistic. People need structure. 
  • ignores the historical and empirical success of modernism. Modernism caused progress.
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The personal life perspective

  • Family diversity is positive
  • It allows people to make personal choices about their personal identity.
  • Connectedness - people's choices are influenced by family and friends.
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Life course diversity

  • Life cycle diversity means the way in which families develop through life. For e.g. getting married, having children, the children growing up, the couple separating and then leading new lives which may repeat the cycle. 
  • These factors mean that the family is constantly changing
  • Life course refers to important events such as marriage that infividuals experiance as they make their way through life and the choices and eanings that they attatch to these events.
  • Life cource can change the life cycle of the family. 
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