Family Diversity + life course

HideShow resource information

Modernism + the nuclear family

Functionalist + New right are considered modernist. 
> they see nuclear family as being best family type.

- Parsons > functional fit for family + society.
Nuclear family suits geographically mobile workforce and socialisation of children.  

1 of 11

The new right

Firmly opposed to family diveristy / anti feminist. 
Traditional nuclear family is correct family type.
- clear cut division of labour ( instrumental / expressive roles)
Family is natural + based on biology

social problems are caused by > family diversity + high crimes/ education failure.
X- lone parents unable to disapline children/ burden on welfare system. 
X- no male role model > this increases delinquency + social stability.
- marriage is seen as essential basis for creating social stability.

Amato - children in lone parent families face greater risks of poverty, education failure, crime + health problems. >> as well as future family breakdown.
New right say return to traditional values will prevent damage to children.  
- As conservatives, they are against taxation + government spending.
>> family breakdown has increased welfare spending. knock on effect on taxes.
>> High taxation + benifits are known as 'Perverse insentives'.
- punishing responsible behaviour + rewarding irresponsible.

Underlies traditional family - men dont work to support family.
They encourage dependancy culture.  

2 of 11

Criticisms of the new right

Ann Oakley > the new right wrongly assume gender roles are due to biology. - cross cultural studies show otherwise. 

Feminists >> nuclear family is favoured as it oppresses women and shows gender inequality. 

> Keeps women financially dependant. 

3 of 11

Chester : the Neo- conventional family

Robert Chester > important change from traditional nuclear ( conventional) family to 'neo-conventional' family. 
Neo-conventional family is similar to symmetrical. - dual earners.

- Chester says nuclear family is part of a life cycle.

People may live in different types of family structure during different stages of life.  

4 of 11

The Rapoports: Five types of family diversity

Family diversity represents freedom of choice. - acceptant of cultures. 

1) Organisational diversity > conjugal roles / wage earners. who does what? 

2) Cultural diversity> cutural, religions, ethnic groups have different structures.

3) social class diversity > income differences in household/ class differences in child rearing.

4) life stage diversity > structures acording to stage in the life cycle. 

5) Generational diversity > older + younger attitudes + experiences/ eg views on divorce/ cohabitation. 

5 of 11

Post modernity and the life course.

Post modernists say modernists ignore : individuals as social actors. 
They say our actions are shaped by society.

Life course analysis 
Tamara Hareven-
Choices, timing, sequences of events are turning points. 
- life course analysis focuses on meanings.
- she favours unstructed interviews.
- Two strengths - what individuals consider to be important / choices of individuals.

Pick and mix what type of structure at different times.  

6 of 11

Giddins: choice + equality

- Equality of relationships has occured due to: contraception allowing sex and not reproduction/ women gaining independance. 

'Pure Relationship' where tradition and laws dont affect how people act.

Trying different relationships defines who we are.  

7 of 11

Beck - 'risk society' + the negotiated family.

Tradition has less influence and people have more choice. 
- we make choices according to risk.
Although with traditional family it was unequal, it was stable and gave everyone roles.
- Gender equality undermines this (women expect equality)
- Greater indervidualism

This has led to a new family 'Negotiated family' 
Although its more equal, it is less stable- People can leave when family doesnt satisfy their needs.

PIck and mix society - creates identy.
Electronic media has broken barriers of time + patterns.
This diversity + choice means modernists + functionalist cant generalise.   

8 of 11

Stacey - the divorce- extended family

Stacey - says greater choice benifits women. 
-> women can be free from oppression + shape family to meet their needs.
-Divorce extended family is one whereby divorce connects people rather than marriage.  

Morgan -> its pointless making large scale generalisations of the family. 

Weeks : the growing acceptance of diversity 
- Long term attitude shift.
- sexual morality is personal choice.
But despite changes, patterns are still traditional.  

9 of 11

For/ Against family diversity

For - Postmodernist/ feminists/ stacey/ weeks/ chester/ rapoports.

Against- functionalists/ parsons/ new right/ Amato

10 of 11

For/ Against family diversity

For - Postmodernist/ feminists/ stacey/ weeks/ chester/ rapoports.

Against- functionalists/ parsons/ new right/ Amato

11 of 11


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Families and households resources »