sociology ; families


different types of families

nuclear - a family made up of 2 marrie or cohabitating parents with their biological children.

same sex - a family made up from a couple in civil partner ship of 2 sexes. 

extended - a family containing 3 or more generations.

lone parent - a family containing only one single parent with or without children. 

reconstituted - a family in which one or both parteners have a child or children from a pervious relationship. 

neoconventional - a modern version of the nuclear family for instance,a cohabitating family.

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a family and a household

the definition of a family is a couple who are in civil partnership,marriage or cohabitating with or without dependent children.

the definition of a household is where an individual or a group of people live at the same adress. 

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the different sociological approaches to the famil

functionalists - the functionalists believe that the nuclear family provide 4 main roles for society ; economic support,emotional support,primary socialisation and reproduction. 

new right - the new rights believe that the nuclear family is the best family as they believe that the man should go out to work and be the main breadwinner while the female should have a caring role and is the one who manages childcare and domestic affairs. the new right are very critical of lone parent and same sex families as they believe that it is damaging to society.


marxist - the marxists believe that the nuclear family is bad because it recreates inequalities between the rich and the poor, it supports the capitalist system an it socialises working class children to believe to accept their lower position in society.

feminists - the feminists are also critical of the nuclear family as they believe that it is patriachal. this means that living in a nuclear family benefits the male more than the female as the female may have to deal with the triple burden (housework,children,career).

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changing gender roles

the roles of men and women HAVE changed because :

  • the symmetrical family is now typical in britain. 
  • fathers play a bigger role in childrens lives now
  • women are now more independent due to the rise of feminism.
  • joint conjugal roles
  • in some families, both the mother and father work

the roles of men and women HAVEN'T changed because :

  • segregated conjugal roles 
  • some families are still patriachal
  • the participation of men doing household tasks has not improved.
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changing parent-child relationships

  • parents are now less authorian - less strict.
  • families are now more child centred - focused on the interests of the child rather than of the mother or father.
  • young people are now more finacially dependent on their parents. 
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changing patterns of fertility and life expectancy

fertility - the average number of children that a woman of childbearing age gives birth to in a particular society. this has changed to women now having children at a later age because :

  • women are now putting their career first.
  • the avaliability of contraception.
  • later marriage.

life expectancy at birth - the average number of years a newborn baby is expected to live. this has increased because :

  • advances in medical treatment
  • public health and sanitation
  • decrease in infant mortality rate 
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marriage,cohabitation and divorce.

the proportion of number of people cohabitating has double over the past 20 years. people would rather cohabitate as they believe that they do not need a paper to signify their love for eachother.    changing patterns ofdivorce :

  • changing attitues - less social stigma ; it now seen as more socially acceptable 
  • changing social position of women - women are now seen as equal to men and are more independent. 
  • secularisation - the idea of religion encouraging marriage has declined. 
  • the medias emphasis on the idea of divorce - the media romantices marriage. this means that the media encourages people to get married as it gives out such high expectations of it. becaue of these expectations not matching the real marriage, this has cause an increase in divorce. 

consequences of divorce :

  • loss of contact/emotional support
  • rise in other family types (lone parent,reconsitituted)
  • loss of income. 
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