Family topic- 2016 guidelines


what you need to know: from the exam board  Families and Households Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:
• 1. the relationship of the family to the social structure and social change, with particular reference to the economy and to state policies
• 2. changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, childbearing and the life course, including the sociology of personal life, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures
• 3. gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships within the family in contemporary society
• 4. the nature of childhood, and changes in the status of children in the family and society
• 5. demographic trends in the United Kingdom since 1900: birth rates, death rates, family size, life expectancy, ageing population, and migration and globalisation.

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family and household structure

nuclear family- two generations, children and parents cohabiting

extended family- all relations going beyond nuclear

classic extended family-  extended family cohabiting or living near to each other

modified extended famiy- extended family living far apart but in contact + visit frequently

beanpole family-  a multigenerational family, few aunts, uncles and cousins ect refelcting fewever children born each generation+ longer life expectancy

patriachal family-  headed by males

matriachal family- headed by females

symetrical family- shared authority and household tasks between male and female

reconstituted family/step family/blended family -one or both paretns previosuly married with children from other relationships

lone parent family- one sole parent carign for dependant due to divorce,death or sepparation

gay/lesbian family- same sex couple livign together with children

single person household- an individual living alone

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construction of mariage

monogomy - two individuals (traditionally christain in europe  and USA)

serial monogamy- a series of monogamous mariages ( found in uk as there are high rates of divorce)

arranged marriage -marriages arranged by parents, to match them with partners of a simialr background or status

civil partnership- legal recognition of same sex couple relationships, meaning equal teatement to married couples. same sex marriage was legalsied in 2014

polygamy- mariage of more than one aprtner at the same time

polygny-one husabnd and two or more wives

polyandry- one wife and two or more husbands

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nayar tribe- context

nayar of south west india pre 19th centuary- there was no nuclear family

woman could have sexual relations with any man she wished up to 12

 the mothers brother acted like the biolocal father would in a nuclear fmaily, responsible for the mother and children

in the nayar there was no direct links with sexual realtions,chilbearing,childrearign and cohabitation

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1960s- western europe britain and US in groups of people who wanted alternative lifestyles due to polital or religious belief they held

it emphasieses collective living rather than individual living

adults and children all aim to live and work together

children being seen as the responsibility of the group over the natural parents

many communes tend to be short lived, there are few in brittain today

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the kibbutz- context

childrearing was sepparated as much as possible from mariage relationships

children are kept appart from there natural parents- mostly brought up in a childrens house by metapelets(professioanl parent doing roles like nurse, housemother and educator

natural parent are allowed to see there children for short periodsof each day

the children are seen as children of the kibbutz- the responsibility of the whole community

in recent years the traditional view of the family has re-emerged in kibbutzim, with natural parents sharign the same accomodation

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gay and lesbian/ foster families

gay/lesbian families

civil partnership act 2004

2014 same sex couples= can be legally married

foster families

they demonstate that the link between natural parents and rearing children can be sepparated

explains that it is incorrect to assume that the conventional nuclear family is a universal institutuion

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functionalist persepctives

functionalism is a  consensus theory that emphasises interegration and harmony between parts of society , which helps also to maintain it

sees family as a vital organ- organic annalogy

murdock- 1949 there are four main functions to the family

1 sexual-expressing sexuality in a socially approved context

2reproduction-the family providing stability for the rearing of children

3socialisation- the family are an important unit of primary socialisation ( where children learn what is acceptable behavior in society  and cultural in order to build up the valued consensus

4economic- the family provide food and shelter for family members

he regards these functions as neccessary in any society and that the nuclear family preform these functions best

parsons an american functionalist in the 1950s  agued that there were two basic functions tot he family

1primary socialisation-

2stabilisation of human personalities

primary socialisation- without it parsons says society would cease to exist, families are factories producing and moulding human personalities, warm bath theory

the stabilisation of human personalities-through sexual division of labour, via the expressive role taken on by women=warmth and emotional support for children and husband and then the instumental role takn on by men=breadwinner which lead to stress wich threatens to destabilize his personality

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nuclear family and todays society

parsons, willmott and young 1973, and fletcher 1966, classic extended family are nearly extinct in modern society.

privatised nuclear family/ modified extended family has emerged as a main family form in britain

the privatised nuclear family=self contained,self reliant,home centred unit who spend free time doing jobs aound the house and lesiure time with the family

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reasons for the decline in the extended family

1- the need for geograhical mobility- need to move where skills required, higher pay/ promotion

2- higher rate of social mobility-family mebers have differnt jobs and therfore different social mobility due to higher income,atitudes,education ect  menaing they have less in common

3. growth in wealth- no longer dependant upon one another

4.growth in meritocracy

5.avoidance of status differnce- due to differnces in occupation/ income/ lifesyle /satus  it may become a source of conflict and insability withing the family

6.strengthening bonds between married and cohabiting partners- to protect family stability

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changing functions of the family

many functions are now taken on by specailised institutions liket he nhs, education and welfare system.

parsons calls this process structural diffrentiation- leading to his conclusion that the family only preform two functions

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criticism and evaluation of the functionalist perp

1. murdock and parsons paint a tinted perpectiveof family life. ignore the dark side eg violence against women  and child abuse leading to emotionaly disturbed children who can be used as scapegoats by parents

2. parsons view of the expressive and instrumental role are out of date

3. ignoring the exploitation of women, women suffer from the division of labour eg restricted working hours due to having to prepare thing for the children

4.ignoring the harmfull effect of the family(leach 1967) we are all issolated from families and friedns in todays societys and dotn want to ask too much of one another

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family has lost its functions- functionalist view

fletcher- the family play an important role as a unit of consumption, rasing living standards ect eg large tvs.

marxists see this as a pressure to purchase consumer goods and therfore earn more money= which motivated worker in boring unfufilling jobs

feminsts see the family as a unit of prodcution because womens unpaid domestic labour is expensive if provided outsdie of the family

fletcher also denies that alot of the functions of the family have been lost as serices now provided through the nhs and welfare were not provided before,children were neglected and husbands cared more about there animls than wives

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the new right

the new right supports traditional values and institutions

they see the the nuclear family and kinship as preforming vital roles to emotional security,social stability,conformity and socialisation

a traditional hetrosexual couple, playign traditional geneder roles. therfoer they see it as important that the nuclear family remains domiant.

sees traditional life as being under threat from social changes, like rises in divorce,step family,lone parents and cohabitation, lack of commitment,bith outsdie mariage and same sex couples state policies support this

these changes  undermine social stability which lead to lack of respect,underachivement, crime and dependancy on the welfare state

it is also criticised for having a rosy view of society and not taking into account the sarker side of things, the type of families that they are refering to probably never existed

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marxist- the family is an agency of control

they look at how the family contributes to society, the see the family as the framework of capatilist society based on private property,and driven by profit, riddled with conflict between the classes.

they belive that the nuclear famiy is concerned only with with social control teaching its me,bers to submit to the capatilist class.

engels1820-95 said the monogomous nuclear family developed as a means of passing on priavte property to there heirs, monogomy was an ideal way to prove paternity. the females provided sex and heirs in return for the economicsecurity her husband offered

althusser 1971 argued for the working class to survive they must submit to the bourgeosisie, family is one of the ideological state appatuses with others such as the education system and media which are concered of the ideas of the ruiling class. through socialisation they maintain false class conciousness by winning the hearts and minds of the working class.

zaretsky1976 ideological role in supporting capatilism, family are an escape from the oppression and exploitation of work, where they can enjoy themselves and act as valued individuals.however this is a very romanticised view of the family, without conflicts and rows, the idea that the family are haven and refuge is done at the expese of women

the traditional view is outdated women no longer mary for stability and it it is not a social neccesity. people are now moer likely to marry for love and effection rather than social obligation

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family-social control and surveilance

foucault 1991 devloped the concept that the state are keeping an eye on us= to exercise social control. it is traditionaly associated with the crimminal justice system,media and education system which watch over people and encourage them to confrom 

in postmordern societys foucaut sees it as being more internalised we teacht hese norms and values to ourselves

henderson et al 2010 survalience is established in familes as mothers exercise it over themselves, through judgeent of parenting styles, what they but for their chidlren, discipline,diet and acess to internet and games. it is ofen accomplished and acommpanied by themothers own guilt at not living up to there own expectations        

family opperate ad a form of social sontrol,  a marxist sees it as ensuring social stability,  however feminist and functionalist see it a repressing and promoting submission in an unequal society espencialy women whos guilt underpins it                 

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