Modernism - Family Diversity

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Modernism and Nuclear Family

  • Perspectives such as functionalists and new right have been described as 'modernist'.
  • This means tey see modern society as having a fairly fixed, clear-cut and predictable future.
  • They see one 'best' family type: the nuclear family.
  • Other family types are seen as abnormal, inadequate and devient because they are less able to perform the functions required of the family.
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Modernism - The New Right

  • The New Right have a conservative and anti-feminist perspective on the family.
  • They are firmly opposed to family diversity.
  • They see the nuclear family as 'natural' and based upon fundamental biological differences between men and women.
  • The family is the cornerstone of society seen as a place for refuge, contentment and harmony.
  • They aruge the decline of the nuclear family and the growth of family diversity are the causes of many social problems e.g. higher crime rates and educational failure.
  • Feminists disapprove as the view is based on the oppression of women and prevents them working.
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Modernism - The New Right ***

  • Lone-parent families are unnatural and harmful, especially to children.
  • Lone mothers cannot discipline their children and are a burden on the welfare state.
  • Boys don't have an adult male role model = high rates of delinquency and threatens social stability.
  • Disapprove of women going out to work, women should care for family, should be their 1st and only priority.
  • Marriage is the essential basis for a stable environment to bring up children. Cohabitation and divorce creates instability making it easier for adults to avoid commitment and responsibility which has a negative effect on children.
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Modernism - Chester (funct.)

  • In contrast to traditional family, Chester describes the neo-conventional family as a dual-earner family where both spouses go out to work.
  • Apart from this change, Chester doesn't see any other evidence of major change.
  • He argues most people are not choosing to live in alternatives to the nuclear family on a long-term basis. 
  • He suggests we live in a life-cycle and that when we aren't part of a nuclear family its not choice however, we usually end up in a nuclear family.
  • Plus, the nuclear family is still something people aspire to and is the ideal.
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Modernism - The Rapoports

  • Unlike Chester, Rapoports see family diversity as being important in understanding family life today.
  • They believe we have moved away from traditional family to a range of different types.
  • They believe family diversity represents greater freedom of choice and widespread acceptance of different cultures and ways of life.
  • Unlike the New Right, they see diversity as a response to people's different needs and not as abnormal or diviation from the assumed norm of the nuclear family.
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Modernism - The Rapoports ***.

  • The Rapoports identify 5 types of family diversity in Britain today:
  • Organisational Diversity: refers to the differences in the way family roles are organised e.g. some couples have joint conjugal roles and 2 wage-earners whereas others have segregated con. and 1 earner.
  • Cultural Diversity: different cultural, religious and ethnic groups have different family structures.
  • Social class Diversity: differences in family structure are partly a result of income differences between households of different classes.
  • Life-stage Diversity: family structures differ according to the stage reached in the life cycle (newlyweds, widowers, uni etcc.).
  • Generational Diversity: older and younger generations have different attitudes and experiences that reflect historical periods e.g. they may have different views on divorce, cohabitation etc.
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