Family Terms

  • Created by: Zmarston1
  • Created on: 01-06-18 20:08



This is what makes a family and how we measure what structure or type of family there is. Usually a connection of blood, marriage or another legally binding process such as adoption.

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Definitions-Nuclear Family

Nuclear Family

This is a family in which there is 2 parents and their 2 children. Traditionally the 2 parents were hetrosexual but now they can be homosexul as well. 

Functionalism and New Right belive that the nuclear family is best type of family as its natural and functional, however a Femininst or Marxists believe that the nuclear family is oppressive and exploitative.

Stat; 36% of people live in a nuclear family (ONS)

Its the largest family type in the UK

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Definitions-Extended Family

Extended Family

An addition to the nuclear family such as grandparents, uncle, aunts, cousins etc... Family contact beyond 2 generations

Vertical- 3 generations living together or close.

Horizontal- in same generation such as sibilings living together or closely.

Sociologists who mention; linked to Young + Wilmott = Beanpole, Brannen- vertical is stronger but horizontal weaker= reasons are longer life expectancy, dual earning families etc..... Could also use Finch's research: 90% of sample received financial support from relatives.

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Defintion- Lone Parenthood

Lone Parenthood

Family which contains one parent and their offspring, it's usually headed by females (86%) and is most commonly a consequence of divorce. Very common in the Afro-Caribbean community (Education topic-culture)

However, the New Right argues that this is a wrong type of family: sociologist Charles Murray links lone parenthood with educational failure, criminality...... ALSO, Rebecca O'Neill for CIVITAS argued that there were negative consquences of being in this type of family. Dennis and Erdos too.

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Definition- Beanpole


This is a family that is generationally long and thin (vertical extension). Linked to an ageing society and declining fertility rate of 1.81 child per woman. 

Use the study of Young+ Wilmott here: stage 1 or pre-industrial family

Also could use Brannen here- vertical extension becoming popular again for reasons such as dual earning families.

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