Family and Households

Cereal Packet Family

The nuclear family as shown in advertising. Often shown of married couples where the father is the breadwinner and the father is at home looking after the children.
Created by Leach.

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Neo Conventional Families

Chester (1985) suggested that family diversity has been exaggerated because of the way statistics are interpreted. While the proportion of households that are not conventionall families is quite high, the proportion of people not living in conventional families is much lower. This is because conventional families tend to have more members than alternative arragements.

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Lone Parent Families

Families headed by only one parent.

The number of lone parent families with dependant children increased to 12% to 2 million. 9 out of 10 of these parents were women. This number includes never married and divorced parents

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Cultural Diversity

The existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society

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Multicultural Families

A family involving people of different ethnic origins

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Where people live together without being married. It is also seen as a 'trial period' before marriage

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Giddens (Post-Modernist)

Argues that in recent decades that the family and mariag have been transformed by greater choice and a more equal relationship between mena and women.
This has occured due to:
-contraceptions have allowed sex and intimacy rather than reproduction to be the main reason for relationships existence
-Women have gained independance as a result of feminism and greater oppitunities in education and work

POSITIVES: Couples are free to determine their relationships themselves

NEGATIVES: Personal relationships less stable

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Reasons For Population Growth

Up to the 1950's and 1960's natural change was the main reason for population growth in the UK.

However in recent years Net Migration has been the main reason for the population growing.

Birth Rate

  • Only 716,000 children were born in 2004. This is a 34% fewer births than in 1901 and 21% fewer than 1971

There are a number of reasons why the number of births in the 21st century are lower than those in 1901:

  • A major decline in infant mortality rate
  • Improvements to Sanitation and nutrition in hospitals
  • Development in medicine
  • Contraceptive medicines stopping women from having children until they're wanted
  • Cost of having children increasing
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Functionalist view of the family

The function of the family is to socialise children, which in turn benefits both children and society.

George Murdock (1949) has carried out a study involving 250 families. From his analysis, he has argued that the family performs four basic functions for its individual members and society at large:

-sexual - refers to the regulation of sexual activity.

-reproductive - relates to bearing and raising children. The family provides the society with new members and assume responsibility for raising them.

-economic with a division of labour along gender lines. Murdock considers this division of labour as rewarding for the spouses and as strengthening the bond between them, as they are perceived as doing distinct but complementary work

-educational - can also be termed ‘socialisation'. The family has the responsibility of transmitting a society's way of life, norms and values to the younger members. This function is an important one as, without culture, the society could not survive, and too much deviation from the norm would disrupt the stability of the society.

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Marxist view of the family

Marxists see the role of the family quite differently to that of functionalists. Marxists believe the nuclear family is a tool of the ruling class, an institution used to teach its members to submit to ruling class authority.

  • The family is shaped by the needs of capitalism and how to support/maintain it

Maintaining Capitalism:

  • Reproducing future workers
  • Consuming products of capitalism
  • Family provides emotional support for workers helping them accept opression at work
  • Family socializes children to the norms of capitalism
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Radical Feminist perspective of the family

families are structured; in this structure men dominate while women and children are subordinate (very few families are matriarchal)

as man’s position in the family is the dominant one he tends to make the final decision on family issues

when women have paid employment outside the home, they still have to undertake household tasks – this is known as the dual burden

while some women have paid employment outside the home while still remaining responsible for the majority of household tasks and care for children – what Duncombe and Marsden (1995) termed the triple-shift

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