sociology- the family

The family

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  • Created by: clarice
  • Created on: 11-01-12 17:07


domestic division of labour- refers to male and female roles in the home.

Talcot Parson 1955 said there are expressive and instrumental roles in the family. Expressive is for women and that is that the woman should be geared towards child care and the families emotional needs etc. Instrumental is for males and basically means they go out to work and earn the money (breadwinner). Talcot says differences are BIOLOGICAL.

Conjugal Roles- the roles of the husband and wife at home. There are two types. Joint conjugal roles and segregated conjugal roles. Joint is when the couple split the work and leisure time activities evenly between each other (Young and Willmott's symmetrical family). Segregated is when the couple does not share work and leisure time activities.

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Impact of paid work 1

 Oriel Sullivan (2000) found from 1975 there was greater equality between men and women's tasks. Men taking part in the more 'womanly' tasks too.

Gershuny and Sullivan hold similar optimistic views as Young and Willmott that conjugal roles are becoming more symmetrical.

Rosemary Compton (1997) as women have began to earn more men are doing more in the house.

(All of the above) male and females remain unequal in pay as women earn 3/4 of men's earnings. Compton concludes this reserves an unequal division of labour in the home still.

Man Yee Kan (2000) found that for women every £10,000 extra they earned they did 2 hours less in the household in terms of roles

Johnathan Gershuny (1994) found women who didn't work did 83% of housework, part time did 82% of housework and full time did 73% of housework. The longer the wife was in ft paid work the more her husband did in the house.

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Impact of paid work 2

Continuing with Gershuny (1994) couples who's parents had a more equal role also had a more equal role. He also found there are still typical 'woman' and 'man' tasks with women doing more of the cooking/washing up etc. and men doing more of the DIY and gardening or pet care.

Perhaps a main cause of equal division is also coming from the commercialisation of housework. Where there are items which before women would do soley now provided. E.g. ready meals, washing machine, electrical kitchen appliances. Ability to hire a gardener or cleaner etc.

The disappearance of segregated roles is more likely in upper and middle class society because they can afford it!

Young and Willmott 1962 men are taking a more active role in domestic tasks and more women are becoming wage earners. Symmetrical family is more common in younger couples, the geographically isolated, the socially isolated and the wealthier couples

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Feminists on housework

Duel Burden. Feminists claim that women have the duel burden of doing paid work then coming home and doing free work while usually men come home and relax.

Talcot Parsons Warm Bath Theory supports this as he claims the home is the warm bath and the family provide the man with everything he needs on his return home from a labouring day at work.

Elsa Ferri and Kate Smith (1996) duel burden exists!! study of over 1000 couples aged 33 found that only 4% of fathers had the main responsibility of childcare. Supported also by Lydia Morris in 1990 when she found unemployed males still thought of domestic labour as the woman's job.

Xavier Ramos in 2003 found that roles were only more equal if only the female was full time in paid work.

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feminism and the class system

Sara Arber and Jay Ginn (1995) claimed that only the upper and middle class can afford to be full time mothers. lower class and underclass living in poverty like conditions are stuck with working part time, being the main source of domestic labour and low paid.

Nicky Gregson and Michelle Lowe 1994 dual earning middle class families find it more easier to hire lower class women as nannies and cleaners for than for the wives to stay at home. It also benefited them financially.

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emotion work

Emotion work is care work. An example of when a woman uses emotion work is when someone is ill/ upset etc.

Gillian Dunne 1999 found that lesbian couples are more likely to have joint conjugal roles, show equality towards each others paid job and view childcare positively. Proving that heterosexual couples are patriarchal.

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Resources and decision making

Person who has the highest paying job is more likely to be the decision maker in what resources to buy because it is 'their' money.

Younger couples are more likely to have a joint bank account which means that both partners have access to income (Pahl and Vogler 1993)

Pahl felt it necessary to interview couples together and alone. This is because when together the couple is more likely to lie to please the other partner and it is also clearer who is the decision maker in the relationship.

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Critiques to Young and Willmott

Ann Oakley 1974 its exaggerated. She found that 15% have a high level of housework jobs and 25% have a high level of childcare. Childcare is higher because it is more enjoyable.

Mary Boulton said that young and willmott only looked at tasks rather than responsibilities and welfare

Warde and Hetherington 1993 found that a wife was 30 times more likely to have washed up and men were 4 times more likely to have washed the car

Future Foundations found that 60% of men said they did more than their dads and 75% of women said they do less than their moms

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Radical Psychiatry

Focus on NUCLEAR family and are critical of functionalist and New right views

Family is dangerous (pathological) to the individual and society

Laing and Esterton 1964 causes mental illness. too much time with the same people. high expectations suffocates children.

Leach 1967 too isolated from everyone else. Lacks support from the extended, puts extra pressure on parents which causes parents to take anger out on children

Cooper 1972 parents teach children to be obedient and aim for children to get respectable jobs. Parent is like the bourgeoisie and child is like the proletariat

Dark side of the family- abuse

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Functions of the family

Murdock- 4 sections

Reproduction; provides next batch for society

Education; provides primary socialisation

Sexual; provides a stable sexual relationship for adults

Financial; to economically support the family successfully

Parsons- 2 sections

Primary Socialisation- Teaching of your norms and values in society

Stability of personality for adult life- teaching you the correct personality to get you through life

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How family unit should be viewed

Diane Gittens 1993 said that its only possible to talk about relationships as universal

Robert Chester argues that family theories are based on snap shots of a household. The conclusions drawn are misleading. e.g. A woman may be at home alone but she could be a widower or have her husband in the army which technically makes it still a nuclear family

Over the life cycle of a person most people have at some point lived in a nuclear family at some stage in their life.

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Marxist view of the family

Bourgeoisie has brainwashed the proletariat and that is how they oppress them successfully. For capitalism to stay alive the proletariat must fully submit themselves to the bourgeoisie.

All of societies institutions help maintain capitalism and that functions of the family are performed purely to benefit the capitalist society

Nuclear family teaches people to 'know their place and obey society'

Marxists believe the Nuclear family is only around to provide legitimate heirs for the means of production to keep bourgeoisie living in the family. (Engels)

Engels- monogamy exists to provides legitimate heirs. There is no doubt that it is the woman's child but monogamous nuclear families provide the father with total surety of their paternity to the child.

Family provides the next generation of workers, this proves cheap for the capitalist class. 

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General Family Facts

Murdock claimed that basic family unit across the world is nuclear.

Monogamy- two people in a marriage of the opposite sex

Polygamy- three people in the marriage

Polygyny- Male is allowed more than one wife

Polyandry- Female is allowed more than one husband

William Goode in 1963 claims that everybody wants to live in a nuclear family

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The New Right's View on the Family

Believe Nuclear Family is the best type and that it is natural and based on biological differences between man and woman

The growth of family diversity causes a majority of social problems such as crime

Everyone aspires to be in a nuclear family

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different culture families

Kathleen Gough- The Nayar Tribe, she found that women could have upto 12 different husbands and have children with all different husbands. Biological father carries no responsiblity for child. Instead the uncle of the child is the financial supporter.

John Humphrey Noyes- The Oneida Tribe, he found that everybody was allowed to have sex with anybody who agreed.The whole community looks after the children and that only those titled as suitable are allowed to reproduce. There are also group marriages arranged.

Kibbutz- In Israel. Around 4-5% of Israel's population live in a Kibbutz. Children are bought up away from their biological parents and are allowed to spend evenings and weekends with them for family time. In more recent years children have been allowed to stay the night.

Holmes found that Somean's believe there is not an age that is too young

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Different Cultures view on family

Brannen found that Asian families are typically stricter with their daughters.

Bhatti found that in order to maintain family honour daughters behaviour is often restricted.

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The next slides are based on Demography

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Parents and Children

Childbearing- 4 in 10 are born outside of marriage, 5x higher than 1970's however adults are joint registering and are mostly cohabiting. Women are having children at a later age. since 1971 the average age has rose by 3 years to 27.3. Women are also having fewer children in 1964 women were having an average of 2.95 children in 2006 it was found that women are having an average of 1.84 children. More women are also remaining childless.

Reasons for decline- Stigma decline. In cohabitation 1/3 of 18 to 24 year old's think you should have children after marriage. However more people are staying in cohabitation. People are waiting until they are older to be able to successfully support their child financially. Women have more freedom and abortion is more accessible with less of a stigma attached.

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Lone Parent Families- 24% of families are lone parent. 90% of these are single mothers. Up To 1990 these were divorcees where as since then more single parents were never married. Children in a lone parent family are two times more likely to live in poverty

Reasons for LPF's- Decline in stigma. Women have more freedom. Most are women because women are biologically suited to emotion work. Jean Renvoize found professional women could support children without fathers. Ellis Cashmore found working mothers chose to live alone on welfare benefits as a result of abuse. The release of feminist views could have influenced a rise in matriarchal LPF's.

Charles Murray sees lone parent families as a result of over generous welfare state

It creates a dependency culture whereby people assume the state will support them and their children. This also creates an underclass.

Murray says that by abolishing welfare benefits it will discourage ******* births.

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The ageing population

The average age of the population is rising. In 1971 its was 34.1 in 2007 it was found to be 39.6. This is because there are fewer young people than old.

It is predicted that by 2014 there will be more 65 and overs than 16 and under's. This is the first time this will ever happen.

Donald Hirsch in 2005 claimed that the traditional aged population pyramids are being replaced by more equal sized 'blocks.'

Why? there is an increase in life expectancy; people born in 2010 are expected to live to 100 years old. This is due to the advance in medical care and knowledge of health. There is a decline in infant mortality meaning less under 1's are dying. There is also a decline in the fertility rate (fertility rate is how many are born) this could be due to financial stress and the change of women's position in society.

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Dependancy Ratio

 The non-working older population are financially dependant on the working population.

Taxes must pay for pensions and health care which increases the burden on the working population. Due to this people are working to an older age, 1/10 men are retired at the age of 50 where as most work until they are 70. Women don't even get access to their pension until they have advanced the age of 65.

Griffiths Report 1988 claims that our view of the aged being a burden in a social construct. There is a 'pension time bomb' occurring in present day and due to this people are expected to work longer and pay more into their pensions but receive less. Ageism is a prevalent issue.

In 'traditional' societies (such as Asia or Italy) the aged are respected people and associated with a rise in status.

Hirsch states that social policies need to stop early retirements and make the old trade down houses (downsize) so that growing families can have a suitable home.

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Life expectancy

1990 males were expected to live to 50 and females to 57

In 2003-5 the age has rose to 76.9 for males and 81.2 for females. Approximately rising 2 years per decade.

A baby born today has a better chance of reaching 65 than a baby born in 1900's had of reaching 1.

Although women typically outlive men the age gap in decreasing. The north of the UK has a lower life expectancy than the south. Working class men in manual jobs are 3x more likely to die before the age of 65 than a man working in a managerial role.

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Death Rates

Number of death rates have remained stable at approximately 600,000 per year since 1900

2 world wars and an Influenza epidemic bought a boom in death rates

Since 1900's the death rates has nearly halved, before 1900's the rate was 19 per 1000 of the population and in 2007 it was found that the rate was 10 per 1000 of the population.

Reasons for decline in death rates- 3/4 of decline between 1850 and 1970 is due to a fall in deaths from infectious diseases. It is possible that humans defence system has created an immunity to many diseases that before were kill-able. (Charles Darwin natural selection evolutionary theory). Improvement in nutrition.

Thomas McKeown 1972 found improved nutrition accounts for up to half of the reductions in death rates. Better nutrition means better resistance to illness.

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This is great, thanks

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