Functionalism - Understanding Families 2b

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Evolution of British Family

Young and Willmott

  • Critical of Parsons.
  • Argue that extended family unit went into decline in 60s because - working class communities were broken up when inner city slums were demolished and people were re-housed in different council estates. Intro of the welfare state (benefits, pensions, council housing, NHS) - less need for mutual support system of family. 1944 Education Act - free secondary education and bright working class kids unlikely to follow their fathers into manual work or mothers into being housewives. Many experienced geographical mobility - uni. And social mobility - upwardly mobile into professional jobs.
  • These encouraged the nuclear family and led to decline of extended family.
  • Argue nuclear family only became norm in late 20th century - 150/200 years later than Parsons said.

Ronald

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