Sociology Families

  • Created by: 1234w
  • Created on: 28-05-19 17:36

What is a family ?

Topic 1

Some people will identify 'blood' relatives with genetic ties as their family whilst others may see their friends are their family, these may be people who have formed a relationship over a long period of time.

1 of 14

What different family types are there in the UK ?

Topic 2


> Consists of a father, mother and their dependent child or children,two generations living in the same household (parents may be married or cohabiting)


> Gay or lesbian couple who live together with their child or children, it is an alternative to the traditional heterosexual nuclear family. The rise of gay and lesbian families marks a shift towards greter freedom for individuals to  make choices about their domestic situations and personal relationships.

2 of 14

What different family types are there in the UK ?


>Includes relatives from beyond the nuclear family.

  • Extended vertically - three generations live together or the family is nearby
  • Extended horizontally - addition of husbands brother or wives cousin for example. Two generations who live together or nearby


> Multiple generations of older people and few children in any one generation. They are long and thin in shape


> One parent with a dependent child or children. The majority of lone parent familes are headed by women. In 2015 only 10% of LPFs were headed by men.

3 of 14

What different family types are there in the UK ?


> One or both of the partners have a child or children from a previous relationship living with them. At least one parent is a step parent, most families comprise of a step father, a biological mother and her child or children who all live together.


> Refers to a mum,dad and their two children (nuclear family) as it is shown alot in tv advertisements.

4 of 14

What alternatives to families exist in the UK toda

Topic 3

ONE PERSON HOUSEHOLDS > In 1996 there were 6.6 million one person households in the UK and in 2015 there were 7.7 million making up 29% of the UK households. Reasons for this are : Ageing population,passing of a partner, single and childless throughout their lives or international migrants.

FRIENDSHIPS > They can offer more support to those who have suffered mental health propblems or emotional distress than a biological kin. They can also pick up the pieces when love relationships end.


> Local authorites looked after 69,540 children in March 2015 of these around 60% were abused or neglected. Around 75% go to foster homes for a long or short term basis. Many children are placed in childrens homes or secure units. Childrens homes provide children with accomadtion and care and Secure Units are for children who have committed an offence.

Some older people live in institutions like residential cares and nursing homes.

5 of 14

What types of family diversity are there ?

Topic 6


> They argued that the nuclear family was no longer the main family type and that a range of other family types and households existed and were growing in size.

> Unlike some sociologists the rapoports were optimistic about these changes and thought the chnages indicated that people had more freedom and choice about what type of family they lived in.The Rapoports identified 5 types of family diversity -

Organisational diversity - There are differences between families in their - structures (conventional nuclear, dual worker, lone parent or reconstituted families),the way they oragnise their domestic division of labour and their social networks (links to extended family).

6 of 14

What types of family diversity are there ?

Cultural Diversity

 Different cultural, religious and ethnic groups have differnt family structures for example their is a higher percentage of female headed families among african caribbean families and a higher proportion of extended families in asian groups.

Social Class Diversity

 A families scial class position affects the resources available to it. Working class families tend to favour more conventional role relationships between husband and wives. On the other hand in some middle class families roles may be unequal because of demands on the husbands career. Social class also affects childrearing processes such as discipline.

7 of 14

What types of family diversity are there ?

Life Course Diversity

Relates to the stage in a family life cycle that the family have reached. For example newlyweds without children are at a different stage to retired couples with ault children.

Cohort Diversity

Older and younger generations have different attitudes that reflect the historical periods in which they lived e.g they may have different views about the morality of divorce or cohabitation.

8 of 14

What types of family diversity are there ?


  • Legal changes - Marriage of same sex couples in 2013 (2014)  and the Divorce Reform act in 1969 (1971)
  • Changes in social values and attitudes - More liberal towards divroce and homosexuality. more acceptable, less social stigma > normalised
  • Changes in gender roles - more neo conventional families, greater equality for women, rise in feminism > greater economic independence
  • Welfare benefits for LPs - more provison provided by the state > easier to leave unhappy marriages
  • Employment Oppurtunities - Women are in paid employment so have greater economic independence > decline in manufacturing industry and rise in service sector jobs
9 of 14

What types of family diversity are there ?

  • Longer life expectanty - more ageing population according to ONS 2014 average life expectanty for a male is 79.3 % and a female is 83%.
  • Secularistaion - census 2001 15% had no religion, 2011 25% had no religion. Acc to the BSA 50% had no religion in 2014.
  • Immigration - multi cultural society > increase in diversity
10 of 14

How do families differ within a global context ?

Topic 7

COMMUNES - a group of people who share accomadation,possessions,wealth and property. It is difficult to generalise communes because they all vary. Members of the commune make decisions together and try to achieve equality in the status of women and men, adults and children.

KIBBUTIZM - a group of people who live together communally and value equality and co-operation between members. Children are either looked after by 'Kibbutz mothers' and see their biological mother for a few hours a day or they live with their biological parents up to 15 years and then move to the teenagers houses. All children born in the same year are raised and educated together.

ONE CHILD POLICY - Couples who live in the city were allowed to have 1 child and if they had a second child they could face fines, demotion or dismissal from work.

11 of 14

How does the functionalist perspective view famili

Topic 8

Functionalism focuses on the role and functions of the family in industrial society. It sees the nuclear family as a key social structure as it performs several functions for individuals and society as a whole.

MURDOCK - He argued that the nuclear family carries out four vital functions that are essential for society and individuals. These are :

Sexual - maintains couples relationship and binds them together.

Reproductive - new members needed for survival > procreation and child bearing

Economic - support > food, shelter, clothes

Educational - learn cultures > socialisation > discipline and teaching

12 of 14

How does parsons view the functions of the nuclear

Topic 9

Parsons argued that despite the loss of some functions the family retained two important functions that other institutions cannot perform.

Primary socialisation - children learn the culture of their society. It socialises children so that they leaen and accept societys shared values and roles > maintain stability.

Stabilisation of adult personalities - Emotional support between the husband and wife reduces outside stress and pressure as an adult in this way the family plays a key role in maintaining the emotional stability of adults.

13 of 14

How does parsons view the functions of the nuclear

  • Parsons focuses on the middle class and ignores ethnic diversity and diversity linked to social class and religion.
  • Ignores alternatives to the nuclear families like communes or kibbutizm.
  • Ignores dysfunctional families where domestic violence and child abuse may occur
  • Leach argues that the nuclear family could intensify stress between spouses and between parents and children.
  • New technology - IVF - dont need monogamous nuclear family.
14 of 14




Sociology GCSE families Topic 1 - Topic 9



Great revision cards- very helpful :)

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Families resources »