Extended Family in the contemporary UK

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  • Created by: ___james
  • Created on: 08-02-14 19:55

1.) Outline and evaluate the view that the extended family is no longer important in the contemporary UK (33 marks).

  • Family structure refers to the composition of the group of people who live together as a family. The 2 basic family structures are 'nuclear' and 'extended'. A family is a married or cohabiting couple, either with or without their never married child or children. This includes childless couples or a lone parent together with his or her never married child or children. A nuclear family refers to a family consisting of 2 parents and their depending children. An extended family is one that, while including the basic nuclear structure, has been enlarged. Contemporary UK refers to the modern society in the United Kingdom. Extended kin refers to the relations beyond the nuclear family, e.g. aunts, uncles and grandparents. The extended family is a group consisting of all kin. The extended family is modified or disperesed extended family as suggested by Willmott consists of related nuclear families that may be living apart from one another.
  • Parsons states that the structure of the family has changed over time in order to fit the changed which have ocured in societies. An example of this is a change from a pre-industrial society (farming, land working, etc) to an industrial (factories, etc) society. In the pre-industrial society, the extended family is described by Parsons as being 'extremely useful' as a wide range of functions were required to be carried out such as childcare, housework, looking after the elderly, looking after the sick and working the land. 
  • Parsons suggested that the changes from the extended family to the nuclear family occured due to 2 reasons. These being the workforce in industrial societies needs to be geographically mobile or living in a society increasingly based on achieved status could cause conflict…


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