Family diversity: the growth of variety in the structure and nature of the family.
Micheal Anderson 1980 (Historian)
- Argues that there has always been family diversity, but many sociologists of the family before the 1980s assumed that family diversity was not the norm
Julia Brannen 2003
- The eanpole family is now typical in GB
- Beanpole family: A family in which links between generations are strong but relations with aunts and uncles are weaker than those with grandparents
The Cereal Packet Family
- Idea created by Leach 1967
- The idea that a single family type is dominant.
Ann Oakly 1982 (Feminist)
- Marketing and advertising often tries to sell products to what it sees as the typical family.
- Portrays the conventional family as 'nuclear families, composed of legally married couples, choosing to parent one or more children
Barrie Thorne 1992 (Feminist)
- Believes that gender, generation and class results in widly varying experiences of family life, many of which diverge from the nuclear family with the male breadwinner and female housewife.
The Rapports 1982- Types of Diversity
- Refers to the differences in lifestyle between families in different ethnic, national and religious backgrounds.
- A group of people born over the same period of time
- Involves variation in family structure, household type, kinship networks and labour divisions.
- Refers to the differences between, working, middle and upper class- way they behave, the way the children are socialised.
5.Stages in a life-cycle
- Differences between newlymarried couples and those with dependent children
Graham Alan & Graham Crow 2001- reasons for divers
- Believe that diversification has continued
- No longer fixed set of stages in the life-cycle & each family follows a more unpredictable course, complicated by cohabitation, divorce and remarriage.
- Reflects greater inividual choice and the 'seperation of sex, marriage and parenthood.'
Reasons for Diversification
- Increase in lone parent families- due to incresinf divorce, liberal divorce laws
- Rising divorce rates- caused by factos such as changes to divorce laws -The divorce reform Act 1969, rising acceptance of alternatives & divorce
- Acceptabnce of cohabitation- decline in the influence of religion= secularization
- Declining marriage rates- people marry later and an increasing majority of people choose not to marry at all
- Rise in the number of step families- as a result of increasing divorce.
New types of diversity
-New types of diversity in addition to those identified by the Rapports, have developed as a result of liberalisation in attitudes to sexuality and introduction of new reproductive technologies (test tube babies)
Weeks, Heaphey &Donovan 1999
- Increase in Gay/lesbian couples contributes to incresing diversity
- An important social change is taking place in which whom we see to be part of our family is more important than ties of blood/marriage
- Friendship networks can now function as if they were families- emphasis on shift towards induvidual choice rather than duties and obligations of family life
Family Diversity and lone parenthood
- Lone parent families- through divorce, seperation ro death of spouse
- Increasing number of lone parent families
Allan & Crow 2001
- Explain the increse in lone parenthood in terms of 2 factors:
1) increase in marital breakdown
2) rise in births to unmarried mothers
- both factors can be explained in terms of increasing acceptane of diversity and type of family life
David Morgan 1994
- Sees te changing relationshop between men & women as important, greater equality between the sexes making women economically autonomous
Negative effects of loneparentfamilies
- Children becomiong delinquent and turning to drugs and crime
- Children under achieving in education
- Greater change of living in poverty
Ethnicity & Family Diversity
- Ethnic groups= groups of people in a population regarded by themselves and others as culturally distinctive, have comon origin
- Ethnicity may be related to religion, nationality, language, lifestyle
- Result of migration
- Add to Family Diversity
Bhatti 1999- The study of Asian Families
- Family loyalty strong
- Maintain traditional family practices, e.g. Izzat- principle of family honour- taken seriously
- can be argued they add to diversity, by maintaining traditional nuclear families but with strong extended kinship networks
Decline of the conventional family
Dench, Gavron & Young 2008
- Study in Bethnal Green, following up Willmott and Young's study in 1950s
- Found earlier family patterns of working class, of living in nuclear families with strong kinship networks, replaced by a new individualsim which cohabitation, divorce, seperation and lone parenthood were all more common
The rise of teh Neo-conventional family
Robert Chester 1985
- Recognised there was family diversity, didn't see it as important or a negative
- Neo-conventional= A type of family where both parents are earning money (Dual earner)
- The only important change was the move away from the conventional nuclear familiy structure to the neo-conventional strucutre
- Argues that people do not wish to move away from the nuclear family was it is still ideal
- The decline in the nuclear family is due to the life-cycle (Talcott Parons 1954) many people who aren't in the nuclear families are wither divorced, widows or young men. However they will be part of a nuclear family in the future or have been once
- New Right thought the nuclear family was being threatened, Chester argued that it wasn't and the main features of family life have remained fairly simliar:
-people still getting married
-Children, mostly, reared by natural parents
-Most live in household of married parents
-Most people stay married
Elizabeth Silvia & Carol Smart 1999
- Agree with Chester
- Cohabiting/married couples-with or without children remain important in contemporary family life.
Jennifer Somerville 2000
- Agrees the nuclear family decline can be exaggerated
- But also emphasies there are important changes taking place:
-sex outside marriage is more common
-More couples choose not to have children
-Increasing number of long parent families
-Greater diversity as a result of variations in family lfie and different ethnic groups