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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