Sociology Key Cards - Families and Households

Unit 1 - Looks at the problem of defining the family and shows how families vary from society to society.
Unit 2 - Outlines the main sociological theories of the family and considers government policy towards the family.
Unit 3 - Examines the relationship between family life and industrialisation.
Unit 4 - Outlines and explains changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, childbearing, divorce and separation.
Unit 5 - Looks at family diversity, focusing on lone-parent families, reconstituted families and gay and leasbian families.
Unit 6 - Examines changes in the division of domestic labour and the distribution of power in the family and asks to what extent they are linked to gender.
Unit 7 - Focuses on children and asks how ideas of childhood have changed.
Unit 8 - Looks at changes in birth rates, death rates and family size in the UK since 1900.

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  • Created by: David
  • Created on: 05-12-11 21:12

Unit 1 - 1.1 What is the family?

1.1 What is the family?
Murdock felt the family was:
"The family is a social group characterised by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults".
Broken Down:
Families live together - they share the same household.
They work together and pull their resources - so some extent they share domestic tasks and income.
They reproduce - they have children.

They include an adult male and female who have a sexual relationship  which is approved by the wider society e.g. marital relationship.
The heterosexual couple have at least one child - either their biological offspring or an adopted child.



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Unit 1 - 1.1

The Nuclear Family: a family consisting of an adult male and female with one or more children, own or adopted. Murdock believes that the nuclear family is a 'universal social grouping' - basically that it is found in all societies.

Extended Families: a family containing relatives in addition to the nuclear family. An extension of the nuclear family. These relatives contain kin - relatives based on  'blood' or marriage.

Polygamy: marriage in the west is monagamous and people only have one wife or husband whereas in many societies , marriage is polygamous - a person is permitted additional wives or husbands. Many men have more than one wife called polygyny and in a small number of societies, women may have more than one husband known as polyandry.

















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Unit 1 - 1.2 Diversity in Family Systems

Divesity in Family Systems

Many sociologists have either seen the family, either in it's basic or extended form, as universal, normal and natural.

Edholm claims that this is not the case and that family are kinship relationships are 'socially constructed'. They are based on culture rather than biology.

Edholms word's, 'Relatives are not born but made'.

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Unit 1 - 1.2 Diversity in Family Systems

Parent-child relations:

The biological relationship between parents and children vary from scoiety to scoiety.
The Lakker of Burma see no blood relationship between mother and child.
As a result sexual relationships between children of the same mother are permitted - because they are seen as non-kin, such relationships are not seen as incest.

Parent-child relations:

The tie between mother and child is seen as basic and inevitable.
In some societies many children do not live with their biological parents.

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keeley thorne


Where is unit 6 ??

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