Families & Households

What is a family?
Involves monogamous marriage between a man and woman plus their children all sharing the same residence. This nuclear family is often help up as the ideal however, this rules out groups that many would see as families,e.g. unmarried cohabiting couple
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What is a household?
Is a person living alone or a group of people living together e.g. sharing meals, bills, homework, etc. This group may or may not be related to one another
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Outline Parsons functionalist model of the family
There is a clear division of labour between the spouses. Husband has instrumental role, geared towards achieving success at work so can provide for family. Woman is expressive role geared towards primary socialisation of children - she is homemaker
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Why does Parson believe there is a division?
Due to biological differences, with women naturally suited to the nurturing role and men to that of a provider. He claims that this division is beneficial to both women & men, to their children and society
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Outline criticisms of Parsons
Young & Willmott argue that men are now taking a greater share of domestically tasks and more wives are becoming wage earners. Feminist sociologists reject Parsons' view that the division of labour is natural & argue that it only benefits men
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Outline Bott's view of couples
Joint conjugal roles = couple share tasks such as housework & childcare, spend leisure time together whereas Segregated conjugal roles = couple have separate roles: male breadwinner, female homemaker
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What did Young & Willmott identify?
A pattern of segregated conjugal roles in their study of traditional working-class extended families in Bethnal Green, East London, in the 1950s
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What did they find?
That men were breadwinners & played little part in home life whereas women were full-time housewives & sole responsibility for housework and childcare, helped by female relatives
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What kind of view do Young & Willmott take?
A march of progress view of the history of the family as they see family life as gradually improving for all its members, becoming more equal & democratic
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What has there been a long term trend away from/ towards?
Away from segregated conjugal roles & towards joint conjugal roles and the symmetrical family
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What is a symmetrical family?
One in which roles of husbands & wives, although not identical are now much more similar: women now go out to work, men now help with housework & childcare and couples spend more their leisure time together instead of separately
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What did they find in their study of families in London?
Found that symmetrical family was more common among younger couples, those who are geographically & socially isolated & more affluent.
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What is the rise of symmetrical family as a result of?
Major social changes that have taken over the past century: changes in women's position, geographical mobility, new technology & higher standards of living
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How can these changes be linked with each other?
Married women bring a second wage into the home which raises the standard of living. This means that the couple can afford more labour-saving devices, which makes housework easier & encourages men to do more
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What do feminist psychologists reject?
This march of progress view and argue that little has changed as men and women remain unequal within the family & women still do most of the housework. They see this inequality as stemming from the fact the family & society are male-dominated
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How does Oakley criticise Young and Willmott?
Argues their claimed are exaggerated as although they found most of husbands they interviewed helped their wives at least once a week this could include simply taking the children for a walk which for Oakley is hardly convincing evidence of symmetry
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In her own research of housewives, what did Oakley find?
Evidence of husbands helping in the home but no evidence of a trend towards symmetry. Only 15% of husbands had a high level of ppts in housework & only 25% had a high level of participation in childcare
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What did Boulton find?
That fewer than 20% of husbands had major role in childcare & argues Y&W exaggerate mens contributions by looking at tasks involved in childcare rather than responsibilities
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How do some recent sociologists take an optimistic view of impact of paid work?
Argue that women going out to work equal division of labour at home & so in this march of progress view, men are becoming more involved in housework & childcare just as women are becoming more involved in paid work outside the house
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What does Gershuny argue about march of progress view?
Argues that women working full-time is leading to a more equal division of labour in the home. Using time studies, found that these women did less domestically work than other women
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Outline Sullivan's analysis
Completed an analysis of nationally representative data collected in 1975, 1987 & 1997
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What did Sullivan find?
Trent towards women doing a smaller share of the domestic work & men doing more
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What did her analysis show?
An increase in the number of couples with an equal division of labour & that men were participating more in traditional 'women's' tasks
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What as the British Social Attitudes Survey found as a result of this?
A fall in the number of people who think it is the man's job to earn the money e.g. 1984 45%M & 41%W agreed whereas 2012 13%M & 12%W agreed
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What do feminists think about the impact of paid work?
That it has not led to a greater equality in the division of domestic labour as there is still sign of the 'new man' who does an equal share of housework, & childcare while women carry dual burden
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What has the British Social Attitudes Survey found about this?
That in 2012 men on average did eight hours of housework per week whereas women did 13 hours. Men spent 10 hours on care for family members whereas women was 23 hours & 60% of women felt this division was unjust as doing more than fair share
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What else did the survey find?
Couples continue to divide household tasks along traditional gender lines e.g. women more likely to do laundry, men more likely to do small repairs around the house - patterns were same as found in 1994
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What is a criticism of surveys?
They don't measure qualitative differences in the tasks that men & women perform e.g. Allan argues that women's tasks such as washing & cleaning are less intrinsically satisfying
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What does Bolton point out in regards to taking responsibility for children?
That although fathers may help by performing specific childcare tasks, it is usually the mother who takes responsibility for Childs security & well-being
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How does Ferri & Smiths study support this?
They found that fathers took responsibility for childcare in fewer than 4% of families
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What about Dex and Ward?
Found that although fathers had quite high levels of involvement with their 3-year-olds when ti came to caring for their children when they were sick only 1% took the main responsibility
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What do feminists note about emotion work & triple shift?
Feminists have noted that women are often required to perform emotion work, where the are responsible for managing the emotions & feelings of family members
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What do Marsden et al argue?
That women should perform a triple shift of housework, paid work and emotion work
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Whats another responsibility women have according to Sourtherton?
Co-ordinating, scheduling and managing the family quality time together
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What does Southern argue about leisure time of men and women?
That although they have more or less equal amounts they have different experiences of it e.g. men are likely to experience consolidated blocks of uninterrupted
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Which two researchers identified two explanations for the unequal division of labour?
Crompton and Lyonette
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What does the cultural explanation argue?
That equality will only be achieved when the norms about gender roles change.
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What did Gershuny find?
That couples whose parents had a more equal relationship are more likely to share housework equally themselves which suggests parental role models are important.
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What does he argue about social values?
That gradually adapting to the fact that women are now working full-time, establishing a new norm that men should do more domestic work
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What did Man Yee Kan find?
That younger men do more domestic work & according to Future Foundation most men claim to do more housework than their father & women less than their mother which suggests generational shift in behaviour
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What does the cultural explanation argue?
That if women join the labour force and earn as much as their partners, we should expect to see men and women doing more equal amounts of domestic work
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What did Man Yee Kan find?
That for every £10,000 a year more a woman earns, she does two hours less housework per week
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What does Sullivan show?
Working full-time rather than part-time makes biggest difference in terms of how much domestic work each partner does. Suggests this may be as working full-time brings women earnings closer to partners
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What did Crompton conclude?
That there is no immediate prospect of a more equal division of a labour if this depends on economic equality between the sexes
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Whats the feminist view of division of labour?
Root problem is patriarchy as patriarchal norms and values shape society's expectations about domestic roles that men & women ought to perform
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What do Barrett and McIntosh claim?
That men gain far more from women's domestic work than they give back in financial support & this support that they do give us often unpredictable and comes with strings attached
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What has research also found about resources?
Showed that family members do not share resources such as money & food equally
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What did Kempson find?
That among low income families, women denied their own needs, ate smaller portions of food or even skipped meals altogether to make ends meet
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What were the two types of control over family income found by Pahl & Vogler?
Allowance system - men give wives an allowance out of which they have to budget to meet family's need & pooling - both partners have access to income and joint responsibility for expenditure
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What is often assumed about pooling?
More equality in decision-making & control over resources however, where pooled income is controlled by husband, this tends to give men more power in major financial decisions
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What did Hardill's study of 30 dual-career professional couples find?
That the important decisions were usually taken either by the man alone or jointly & his career normally took priority when deciding whether to move house
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What did Edgell's study of professional couples find?
That very important decisions were either made by husband or jointly but with husband having the final say, whereas decisions on education or where to go on holiday were taken jointly then decisions of children clothes were wife alone
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What has there been evidence of in regards to movements?
Towards greater equality in financial decision-making e.g.Gershuny et al found that by 1995 70% of couples said they had an equal say in decisions
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What did Vogler et al find in regards to the meaning of money?
Cohabiting couples were less likely to pool their money maybe due to independence. Yet evidence suggests they are more likely than married couples to share domestic tasks equally
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What evidence is there about same-sex couples in regards to the meaning of money?
Smart found that some gay men & lesbians attached no importance to who controlled the money & were happy to leave it to their partner. Also didn't see control of money as meaning equality or inequality in their relationship
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What do supporters of the personal life perspective argue about money?
That is it essential to always start from the personal meanings of the acts involved in the situation. This echoes Weeks' et als point of view about division of labour in same-sex couples
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What is domestic labour?
Can include psychological, physical, sexual, emotional violence or abuse. Its too widespread to be simply work of few disturbed individuals.
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What has the Crime Survey for England and Wales found?
That two million people reported having been victims of domestic abuse during previous year
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Whats an example of a social factor that increases domestic violence?
Mainly violence by men against women e.g. Coleman et al found that women were more likely than men to have experienced 'intimate violence' across all four types of abuse
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Outline Dobash & Dobash's study
Based in Scotland, on police and court records and interviews with women in women's refuges
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What did they find?
Examples of wives being slapped, pushed about, beaten, ***** or killed by their husbands. Found violent incidents could be set off by what a husband saw as challenging to his authority
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Outline a statistic about male domestic violence
Crime Survey for England and Wales found relatively narrow gender gap e.g. 7.3% of women compared with 5% of men reported experienced domestic abuse in previous year
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Outline Yearnshire as a criticism of official statistics of domestic violence
Found on average a woman suffers 35 assaults before making a report and DV is violent crime least likely to be reported
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Outline a further criticism
Police & prosecutors may be reluctant to record, investigate or prosecute those cases reported to them e.g. Cheal argues that this reluctance is due to fact police & other state agencies are often not prepared to become involved in the family
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Outline three assumptions of family life:
Family is private sphere, Family is a good thing and so agencies tend to neglect the darker side of family life & Individuals are free agents to assumed if a woman if experiencing abuse she is free to leave
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How do radical feminists interpret the findings of Dobash and Dobash?
As evidence of patriarchy as Millet and Firestone argue all societies have been founded on this and see key division in society as that between men (enemy and oppressors/ exploiters) and women
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What do radical feminists argue about DV?
That widespread DV is an inevitable feature of the patriarchal society and serves to preserve power that all men have over all women. In their view this helps explain why most DV is committed by men towards women
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How does Elliot reject the claim of all men benefit from violence against women?
As all men are not aggressive and most are opposed to DV.
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What does the materialist explanation of DV focus on?
Economic & material factors such as inequalities in income and housing to explain why some groups are at a greater risk of DV
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Outline Wilkinson & Pickett's view
They see DV as the result of stress on family members caused by social inequality
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What does inequality mean?
That some families have fewer resources than others e.g. those on low incomes or living in an overcrowded accommodation are likely to experience higher levels of stress which reduces chances of maintaining stable, caring relationships
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Outline an example of this
Worries about money, jobs & housing may spill over into domestic conflict as tempers become ragged and lack of money & time restricts peoples social circle which reduces social support for those under stress
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What is Wilkinson and Pickett's view useful in?
Showing how social inequality produces stress & triggers conflict and violence in families as those in lower social classes face greater hardship & therefore stress which helps explain class differences in statistics of DV
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What does Ansley argue DV is product of?
Capitalism as male workers are exploited at work and take out their frustration on their wives
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In today's society what is childhood seen as?
Generally accepted that childhood is a special time of life and children are fundamentally different from adults
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What is there a belief of about childhood?
That children's lack of skills, knowledge and experience means they need a lengthy protected period of nurturing and socialisation before they are ready for adult society & its responsibilities
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What does Pilcher note about modern western notion of childhood?
Most important feature of modern idea of childhood is separateness which is emphasised in many ways: through laws regulating what children are allowed, required or forbidden to do, differences in dress & through products and services e.g. food, book
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What else is childhood seen as?
A golden age of happiness and innocence however, this means they are seen as vulnerable and in need of protection from dangers of adult world & must be kept quarantined and separated from it
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What occurs as a result?
Children's lives are largely in the sphere of the family and education where adults provide for them and protect them rom the outside world
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What does Benedict argue?
That children in simpler, non-industrial societies have a much less dividing line between the behaviour expected of children and adults
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How are children treated differently from their modern western counterparts?
Take responsibility at an early age, Less value is placed on children showing obedience to adult authority & Children's sexual behaviour is often viewed differently
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What is meant by Take responsibility at an early age?
Punch’s study of childhood in rural Bolivia found, one children were around the age of five, they are expected to take on work responsibilities in the home and community and these tasks are taken on without hesitation
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What is meant by Less value is placed on children showing obedience to adult authority?
Firth found that among the Tikopia of the western Pacific, doing as your told by a grown up is regarded as a concession to be granted by the child, not a right to be expected as an adult
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What is meant by Children's sexual behaviour is often viewed differently
Among the Trobriand Islanders of the south-west Pacific, Malinowski found that adults took an attitude of ‘tolerance and abused interest’ towards children’s sexual explorations and activities
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What does this evidence suggest?
That the key idea that childhood is not a fixed thing found universally ins, but is socially constructed and so differs from culture to culture
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Outline campaigns due to globalisation of western childhood
Campaigns against child labour or concerns about 'street children' in developing countries reflect western views on how childhood ought to be whereas such behaviour may be norm for culture & important preparation for adult life
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What does Aries argue?
That in Middle Ages the idea of childhood did not exist and children were not seen as having a different nature or needs from adults. Middle Ages, childhood as separate age-stage was short and soon after being weaned, child entered wider society
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What were children seen as in Middle Ages?
Mini-adults with same rights, duties & skills to adults for example, the law often made no distinction between adults and children
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What does Shorter argue?
That high death rates encouraged indifference and neglect, especially towards infant e.g. it wasn't uncommon for parent to give new-born baby name of recently dead sibling, refer to baby as 'it' or forget how many children they had
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When did the modern notion of childhood begin to emerge and according to who?
13th century onwards and Aries
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What does Aries say?
We have moved away from a world that did not see childhood as in any way special, to a world that is obsessed with childhood - the century of the child
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How does Pollock criticise Aries?
By arguing that it is more correct to say that in the Middle Ages, society simply had a different notion of childhood from today's society
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Outline a reason for changes in the position of children from 19th-20th century
Laws restricting child labour & excluding children from paid work, Introduction of compulsory schooling in 1880 especially for children from lower class, Child protection and welfare legislation e.e. 1989 Children Act
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What does Postman argue?
That childhood is disappearing & points to the trend towards giving children the same rights as adults, disappearance of children traditional unsupervised games, growing similarity of adults' & children's clothing
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What else does Postman argue?
That childhood emerged as a separate status along with mass literacy, from 19th century on which created a difference between adults who can read & children who cannot which gave adults power to keep knowledge about sex, money, violence etc from chil
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What does Opie argue?
That childhood is not disappearing & based on a lifetime of research into children's unsupervised games, rhymes, songs & argues there is strong evidence of continued existence of a separate children's culture over many years
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What does Jenks argue?
That childhood was creation of modern society & believes that modern society was concerned with fate & childhood was a preparation for the individual to become a productive adult in the future
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How do children achieve this?
The vulnerable undeveloped child needs to be nurtured, protected & controlled especially by child-centred family & education system which imposed discipline and conformity on children
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Outline the evidence in regards to relationships
Evidence that parents see their relationship with their children as more important than with their partners as concerned about risks they believe their parents face
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Whats the march of progress view on position of children?
Argue that over past few centuries, position of children in western societies has been steadily improving & today is better than ever has been. Aries et al argue that todays children have more value, better cared for, educated than previous generatio
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Outline an example of this
Children today are protected from harm & exploitation by laws against child abuse & child labour while array of professionals & specialists cater for their educational, psychology & medical needs
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On average how much does a parent spend on their child by 21st birthday?
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How do march of progress thinkers believe family is more child-centred?
Children are now focal point of the family, consulted on many decisions as ever before. Parents also invest great deal in their children emotionally & financially
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What does Palmer argue?
That rapid technological & cultural changes in past 25 years have damaged children's physical, emotional & intellectual development
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What other concerns have been raised?
Young peoples health & behaviour for example, UK youth have above average rates in international league tables for obesity, self-harm, drug & alcohol abuse, early sexual experience
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Explain why children don't all share the same status
Children from different nationalities are likely to experience different childhoods & life changes e.g. 90% of worlds low birth weight babies are born in developing countries
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Outline gender differences
Hillman claims boys are more likely to be allowed to cross or cycle on roads, use buses & go out after dark unaccompanied
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Outline ethnic differences
Brannens 1994 study of 15-16 year olds found that Asian parents were more likely than other parents to be strict towards their daughters
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What does Firestone et al argue?
That protection from paid work is not a benefit to children but a form of inequality and its the way of forcibly segregating children, making them more dependent, powerless & subject to adult control than previously
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What do adults control in regards to childrens time?
Adults control speed at which their children grow up & its them who define whether a child is too old or young for this or that activity, responsibility or behaviour.
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What does this contrast with?
Samoans, ‘too young’ is never given as a reason for not letting a child do something
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What do adults control in regards to children bodies?
Take control over how children sit, walk & run, what they wear, their hairstyles. Its taken for granted that children bodies may be touched as they are: washed, fed, dressed, cuddled, kissed
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What does this contrast with?
The sexual freedoms enjoyed by children in some non-industrial cultures such as the Trobriand Islands
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Why does Gittins use the term age patriarchy?
To describe inequalities between adults & children and argues that there is also an age patriarchy of adult domination and child dependency.
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What does Humphrey et al argue?
That a quarter of the 200 women in their study left their abusing partner as they feared for their childrens lives. Such findings support Gittins' view that patriarchy oppresses children as well as women
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For James et al what is acting up?
Its acting like adults by doing things that children are not supposed to do, such as swearing, smoking, drinking alcohol
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For James et al what is acting down?
Is behaving in ways expected of younger children
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What does Mayall say?
That we need to focus on the present tense of childhood to study ordinary everyday life from the child's perspective
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What does the new sociology of children draw attention to?
The fact that children often lack power in relation to adults and so such an approach is favoured by child liberationist who campaign in favour of childrens rights
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What do functionalists believe that society is based on and what is it?
Value consensus which is a set of norms & values into what society socialises its members. This enables them to cooperate harmoniously to meet society's needs
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What does Murdock argue?
That the family performs four essential functions to meet the needs of society and its members
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What are the four essential functions?
Stable satisfaction of the sex drive: with the same partners, Reproduction of next generation as without society wouldn't continue, Socialisation of young into society's shared norms & values, Meeting members economic needs such as food/shelter
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Why has Murdock been criticised by Marxists/feminists?
Reject his rose tinted harmonious consensus view that family meets needs of both wider society & all different members. Argue that functionalism neglects conflict & exploitation
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What does Parsons believe?
That the family may need to meet other needs e.g. may perform welfare, military, political or religious functions. These functions will depend on the society its found in
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What are the two types of family, Parsons distinguishes between?
Nuclear family / extended family
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What are the two types of society?
Modern industrial society/ Pre-industrial society
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Whats a geographical mobile workforce?
In modern society industries constantly spring up & decline in different parts of the country, even the world which requires people to move to where the jobs are
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What does Parsons argue about family & geographical mobility?
Argues its easier for compact two-generation nuclear family to move than for three-generation extended family.
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Whats a socially mobile workforce?
Modern industrial society is based on constantly evolving science & technology & so it requires skilled, technically competent workforce so essential talented people can win promotion
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Why may the extended family not be equipped to meet the needs of industrial society?
adult sons live at home in their father’s house where the father has a higher ascribed status however, at work the son may have a higher achieved status than his father. This would inevitably give rise to tensions and conflict
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According to Parsons when society industrialises what happens to the family?
Not only changes its structure from extended to nuclear, it loses many of its functions e.g. family ceases to be a unit of production
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What occurs as a result of this loss of functions?
The modern nuclear family comes to specialise in two functions: primary socialisation of the young & stabilisation of adult personalities
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What do Marxists see society based on?
See capitalist society as based on unequal conflict between two social classes: capitalist class & working class
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What do Marxists see institutions such as education system, media, religion part of?
Helping to maintain class inequality & capitalism. For Marxists the functions of the family are performed purely for the benefit of capitalist system
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State some functions that Marxists see the family as fulfilling for capitalism:
Inheritance of property, private property, ideological functions & unit of consumption
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What is inheritance of property?
In modern society, it is the capitalist class that owns & controls these means of production. As the mode of production evolves so does the family.
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What did Marx call the earliest, classless society
Primitive communism & in this society there was no private property instead all members of society owned means of production
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What did the control of the means of production bring about?
About the patriarchal monogamous nuclear family
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In Engles view, why did monogamy become essential?
The inheritance of private property as men had to be certain of the paternity of their children to ensure that their legitimate heirs inherited from them
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What do Marxists argue that only with the overthrow of capitalism & private ownership of the means of production?
Women achieve liberation from patriarchal control & if classless society is establishes there will no longer be the need for patriarchal family, since no means of transmitting private property down the generations
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Whats one way that the family performs key ideological functions for capitalism?
Family does this by socialising children into the idea that hierarchy & inequality are inevitable
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What does Zaretsky claim?
The family also performs an ideological function by offering a ‘haven’ from the harsh exploitative world of capitalism outside, in which workers can be themselves and have a private life
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Why does the family play a role in generating?
Profits for capitalists, since it is an important market for the sale of consumer goods
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Why have Marxists been criticised?
Tend to assume that the nuclear family is dominant in capitalist society & this ignores the wide variety of family structures found in society today
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Why do feminists argue that Marxists' emphasis on class and capitalism underestimates
The importance of gender inequalities within the family & in feminist view, these are more fundamental than class inequalities & family primarily serves interests of men, not capitalist
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What do feminists argue about the family?
It oppresses women and have forced on issues such as unequal division of domestic labour & domestic violence against women
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What are liberal feminists concerned with?
With campaigning against sex discrimination & equal rights & opportunities for women e.g. equal pay/ end to discrimination in work place
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What do they believe?
That we are moving towards greater inequality but full equality will depend on further reforms & changes in attitudes & socialisation patterns of both sexes
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Why do other feminists criticise liberal feminists?
For failing to challenge the underlying causes of women;soppression & for believing that changes in the law or peoples attitudes will be enough to bring equality
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What do Marxist feminists argue?
That the main cause of women's oppression in the family is not men but capitalism
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How does women's oppression perform several functions for capitalism?
Women reduce the labour force through unpaid domestic work, socialising next generation & maintaining and servicing the current one
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What does Ansley describe women as?
Takers of **** who soak up the frustration their husbands feel as of the alienation & exploitation they suffer at work
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What do they argue in regards to the family?
It must be abolished at the same time as socialist revolution replaces capitalism with a classless society
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What do radical feminists argue?
That all societies have been founded on patriarchy and key division in society is between men & women: men enemy, family & marriage are key institutions
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For radical feminists what needs to happen to the patriarchal system?
Needs to be overturned & so family which they see as root of women's oppression must be abolished. Only way to do this is separatism
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What do many radical feminists argue for?
Political lesbianism & Greer argues for creation of all female households as an alternative to heterosexual family
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Why does Somerville criticise radical feminists?
As they fail to recognise that womens position has improved considerably with better access to diverse, job opportunities, control over fertility & ability to choose whether to cohabit or marry
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What do difference feminists argue?
We cannot generalise about women's experiences & that lesbian & heterosexual women, white & black women, m/c & w/c women have different experiences of family life from each other
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Whats an example of this?
By regarding family purely negatively white feminists neglect black women's experience of racial oppression & black feminists view the black family positively as a source of support & resistance against racism
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How do other feminists criticise difference feminism?
Neglect the fact that all women share many of same experiences e.g. all face a risk f domestic violence & sexual assault
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What does the personal life perspective argue about other theories?
They assume traditional nuclear family is dominant family type & all structural theories as assume families & their members are simply passive puppets manipulated by structure of society
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Wha do sociologists influenced by interactionist & postmodernist perspectives argue?
That to understand the family today, we must focus on meanings of its members give to their relationship & situation rather than on family's supposed functions
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By focusing on people's meanings, what does the personal life perspective draw our attention to?
Range of other personal or intimate relationships that are important for people even though they may not conventionally be defined as family
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State some examples of these relationships
Relationships with friends, fictive kin, gay and lesbian ‘chosen families’ and relationships with dead relatives
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What does Nordqvist & Smart's research on donor-conceived children explore?
What counts as family when your child shares a genetic link with a relative stranger but not with your partner?
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What did they find?
The issue of blood and genes raised a range of feelings as some parents emphasis the importance of social relationships over genetic ones in forming family bonds
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Why by difficult feelings flare up?
Non-genetic parent if somebody remarked a child looked like them or differences in appearance led parents to wonder about the donor's identity, about possible donor siblings
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Outline issues for lesbian couples
Concerns about equality between the genetic and non-genetic mother and that the donor might be treated as the ‘real’ second parent
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What has the personal life perspective been accused of?
Being too broad and critics argue that, by including a wide range of different kinds of personal relationships, we ignore what is special about relationships that are based on blood or marriage
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What does the personal life perspective recognise?
That relatedness is now always positive for example, many people may be trapped in violent, abusive relationship or simply in ones where they suffer everyday unhappiness, hurt or lack of respect
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Define the term birth rate
Number of live births per 1000 of the population
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What has there been a long-term decline in?
The number of births since 1900 as in 1900 England and Wales had a birth rate of 28.7 and in 2012 had fallen to 12.2
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How has there been fluctuations in births?
Baby booms in 20th century such as WW1/WW2 due to returning service men & their partners starting a family that was postponed during war
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Define the term total fertility rate
Average number of children women will have during their fertile years
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Outline the UK's total fertility rate
Has risen in recent years but still lower than past e.g. was 2.95 in 1964, 1.63 in 2001 & 1.83 in 2014
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What do these changes in the birth & fertility rates reflect?
The fact that women are remaining childless than in past & women are postponing having children to later age e.g. average age for birth is now 30
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Outline changes in womens position during 20th century
Legal equality with men, including right to vote, more women are in paid employment & changes in attitudes to family life
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What does Harper say?
That education of women is most important reason for long-term fall in birth/ fertility rates. Led to change in mind-set among women, resulting in fewer children
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Outline statistics in delaying childbearing/ staying childless
In 2012, one in five women aged 45 were childless double the number from 25 years ago
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What is the birth rate?
Measures the number of infants who die before their first birthday, per thousand babies born alive per y
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What does Harper argue?
That a fall in infant mortality rate leads to fall in birth rate due to if many infants die, parents have more children to replace those they've lost
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What was the infant mortality rate in 1900?
154 and over 15% of babies died within their first year - these figures are higher than those of less development countries now e.g. in 2014 in Afghanistan = 117
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What occurred during first half of 20th century?
Uk's infant mortality rate began to fall due to many things such as improved housing & better sanitation, nutrition, knowledge of hygiene & improved services for mothers & children
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What happened during around the 1950s?
Medical factors began to play a greater role in reducing the infant mortality rate e.g. mass immunisation against childhood diseases such as whooping cough, diphtheria, measles, use of antibiotics to fight infection
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Since the 19th century what have children become?
Economic liability due to laws that ban child labour & introduce compulsory schooling & raise the school leaving age meaning that children remain economically dependent on their parents for longer
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Why has there been an increase in births since 2001?
immigration as on avergae, mothers from outside of the UK accounted for 25% of births in 2011 due to them having higher fertility rate than women in UK
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Whats the prediction for 2041?
Expects the annual number of births to be consistent at around 800,000 per year
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How have smaller families affected the fertility rates?
Mean that women are more likely to be free to go out to work, creating dual earner couples but cna be argued that better off couples may be able to have larger families & still afford childcare allowing both to work full-time
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What is the dependency ratio?
Is the relationship between the size of working part of population & size of non-working part of population. Earnings, savings & taxes of working population must support dependent population
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What do children make up a large part of?
The dependent population, so a fall in number of children reduces burden of dependency on working population but in long term, fewer babies mean fewer young adults & smaller working force
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What consequences for public services does low birth rate have?
Fewer schools, maternity &child health services would be required. Also affects cost of maternity/paternity leave & types of houses that need to be built
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What is the death rate?
Number of deaths per thousand of the population per year for example, in 1900 death rate stood at 19 & in 2012 the death rate more than halved to 8.9
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What does Tranter note about decline in death rate?
Over three-quarter of the decline in the death rate from about 1850 to 1970 was due to fall in number of deaths from infectious diseases such as diphtheria
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Outline diseases of affluence
1950s, so called diseases of affluence such as heart disease & cancers replaced infectious diseases as the main cause of death. These affected mainly the middle ages & old more than the young
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What does McKeown argue?
Improved nutrition account for up to half the reduction in death rates & was particularly important in reducing the number of deaths for tuberculosis
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What does McKeown not explain?
Why females who received a smaller share of the family food supply, live longer than males. Fails to explain why deaths from some infectious diseases such as measles rose at time of improving nutrition
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After 1950s how did medical improvements help?
Improved medical knowledge, techniques & organisation did help to reduce death rates. Also introduction of antibiotics, immunisation, blood transfusions and setting up of National Health Service in 1948
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Outline examples of social changes that have helped to decline the death rate
Decline of dangerous manual occupations, smaller families reduce rate of transmission of infection, greater public knowledge of causes of illness, lifestyle changes, higher incomes
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What is life expectancy?
Refers to how long on average a person born each year can expect to live
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Outline statistic on male life expectancy
Males born in England in 1900 could expect to live until 50 whereas males born in 2013 can expect to live until 90.7
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What does a new-born today have better chance of?
Reaching its 65th birthday than abby born in 1900 id of reaching their 1st birthday
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Who tends to life longer out of males/females?
Women generally than men although the gap has narrowed due to changes in employment and in lifestyle
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Outline regional differences in life expectancy
Those living in North & Scotland have lower life expectancy than those in South
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Outline class differences in life expectancy
W/c men in unskilled/routine jobs are nearly three times as likely to die before they are 65 compared with men in managerial jobs
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What does Walker argue?
Those living in poorest areas of England die on average seven years earlier than those in richest areas
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What is the average age of UK population?
Is on the rise as in 1971 it was 34.1, 2003 was 40.4 & by 2037 expected to reach 42.8
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Outline statistic on fewer young people compared to elderly
The number of people aged 65 or over equalled the number of under-15s for the first time ever in 2014
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What does Hirsch note?
Traditional age 'pyramid' is disappearing & being repeated by equal-sized blocks representing the different age groups e.g. by 2041 there will be as many 78 year olds as 5 year olds
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What do older people consume and what should we be aware of?
A larger proportion of services such as health & social care than other age groups especially among 75+ bracket and should be aware of over-generalising since many people remain in relatively good health well into old age
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Outline one-person households
Number of pensioners living alone has increased & one-person pensioner households now account for 12.5% or one in eight households
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What are gender statistics for 75+ bracket?
Twice as many women as men which is known as feminisation of later life
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In modern society what is a consequence of ageing population?
Growth of ageism towards older people such as discrimination in employment and unequal treatment in healthcare
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What do sociologists argue ageism is the result of?
Structured dependency - old are largely excluded from paid work, leaving them economically dependent on their families or the state
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What does Phillipson argue?
That the old are of no use to capitalism as they are not longer productive. So, the status is unwilling to support them adequately and so family, especially female relatives often have to take responsibility for their care
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What do postmodernists argue?
That in todays society, the fixed stages of the life course have broken down e.g. trends such as children dressing in adult styles, later marriage, early retirement all begin to blur the boundaries between life stages - gives individuas more freedom
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Due to consumption rather than production becoming key to our identifies what occurs as a result?
Old become a market for vast range of body maintenance goods & services through which they can create their identities including: cosmetic surgery, exercise equipment, gym memberships
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Outline inequality among the old
M/c have better occupational pensions & greater savings from higher salaries. Poorer people have shorter life expectancy & suffer more infirmity making it more difficult to maintain a youthful self-identity
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What do postmodernists understate?
The importance of such inequalities which are related to the structure of wider society & play major part in shaping the experience of old age, often restricting the freedom of the elderly to choose an identity through their consumption
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What does migration refer to?
The movement of people from place to place. It can be internal within a society or internationally.
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What does immigration refer to?
The movement into a society
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What does emigration refer to?
The movement out of a country
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What is net migration?
The difference between the numbers of immigrants & numbers of emigrants and is expressed as a net increase/decrease due to migration
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From 1900 until WW2 what was largest group of immigrants?
Irish, mainly for economic reasons followed by Eastern & Central European Jews who were often refugees fleeing persecution
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During 1950s what was largest group of immigrants?
Black immigrants from Caribbean began to arrive in UK
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During 1960s/70s what was largest group of immigrants?
South Asian immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka
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By 2011 what % did ethnic groups account for?
14% and as a result greater diversity of family patterns have occurred
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Since 1990s where have emigrants gone to?
USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa
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Outline push & pull factors for this
Push = economic recession/ pull= higher wages or better opportunities abroad
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Outline net migration of UK
More immigrants 583,000 than emigrants 323,000. 47% of the immigrants were non-EU citizens, 38% were EU citizens and 14% were British citizens returning to the UK
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How does immigration lower the average age of population?
Immigrants are generally younger and indirectly: being younger, immigrants are more fertile and therefore produce more babies
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Outline three effects on the dependency ratio
Immigrants are more likely to be of working age, due to immigrants being younger they are having children, longer a group is settled in the country, the closer their fertility rate comes to national average
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What is globalisation?
Idea that barriers between societies are disappearing & people are beocming increasingly interconnected across national boundaries
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What is globalisation the result of?
Growth of communication systems 7 global media, the creation of global markets, fall of communism in Eastern Europe & expansion of European Union
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What has there been a speeding up of?
The rate of migration e.g. according to United Nations between 200 & 2013 intenational migration increased by 33% to reach 232 million of worlds population. In same year, 862,000 people either entered or left UK
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Outline types of migrants
Permanent settlers, temporary workers, spouses & forced migrants such as refugees & asylum seekers
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How is globalisation increasing diversity types?
Students are now a major group of migrants e.g. in UK in 2014 there were more Chinese-born than UK-born postgraduate students
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Since 1990s what has globalisation led to?
What Vertovec calls ‘super diversity’
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What does Cohen distinguish between?
Types of migrant: citizens (those with full citizenship rights), denizens (are privileged foreign nationals welcomed by the state) and helots (the most exploited group, unskilled, poorly paid work and include illegally trafficked workers)
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What is globalisation of gender division?
Where female migrants find that they are fitted into patriarchal stereotypes about women's roles as carers or providers of sexual services
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What did Hochschild et al observe?
That care work, domestic work & sex work in western countries like the UK & USA is increasingly done by women from poor countries. Result of several trends: expansion of service occupations, western women have joined labour force
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Outline migrant identities
For migrants and their descendants their country of origin may provide an additional or alternative source of identity for example, migrants may develop hybrid identities made up of two or more different sources
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What did Eade find?
That second generation Bangladeshi Muslims in Britain created hierarchical identities: they saw themselves as Muslim first, then Bengali then British
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According to Eriksen what has globalisation created?
More diverse migration patterns, with back-and-fourth movements of people through networks rather than permanent settlement in another country
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What has occurred as a result?
Migrants are less likely to see themselves as belonging completely to one culture or country. Instead, they may develop transnational ‘neither/nor’ identities and loyalties
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What has there been a great increase in since 1960s?
Number of divorces in the UKe.g. doubled between 1961 and 1969 and again by 1972. This upward trend continued in 1993 at 165,000
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What was the divorce rate in 2012?
118,000 - around six times higher than 1961
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What does this rate mean?
That around 40% of all marriages will end in a divorce
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How many applicants come from women?
65% which is very different to in 1945 when only 37% of petitions came from women
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What kind of couples are more likely to divorce?
Those who marry young, have a child before they marry or cohabit before marriage and those where one or both partners have been married before
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Outline the three changes in the law
Equalising the grounds for divorce between sexes, widening the grounds for divorce and making divorce cheaper
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Outline the change in law in 1923
Grounds were equalised for men & women; this was followed by a sharp rise in the number of divorce petitions from women
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Outline the change in law in 1971
The widening of grounds to ‘irretrievable breakdown’ made divorce easier to obtain and produced a doubling of the divorce rates almost overnight
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What is desertion?
Where one partner leaves the other but the couple remain legally married
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What is legal separation?
Where a court separates the financial and legal affairs of the couple but where they remain married
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What is an empty shell marriage?
Where the couple continue to live under the same roof but remain married in name only
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What does stigma refer to?
To the negative label, social disapproval or shame attached to a person, action or relationship
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In the past why would past divorce & divorcees be stigmatised from?
Churches tended to condemn divorce & often refused conduct marriage services that included divorcees
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What did Mitchell & Goody note?
An important change since the 1960s has been the rapid decline in stigma attached to divorce. As the stigma declines and divorce becomes more socially acceptable, couples become more willing to resort to divorce as means of solving their marital prob
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What is secularisation?
Refers to the decline in the influence of religion in society
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What has occurred as a result of secularisation?
The traditional opposition of the churches to divorce carries weight in society and people are less likely to be influenced by religious teachings when making decisions about personal matters such as whether or not to file a divorce
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What has improvement in women's economic position made them?
Less financially dependent on their husbands & therefore freer to end an unsatisfactory marriage. Proportion of women working rose from 53% in 1971 to 67% in 2013
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Outline Allan & Crows view
Argue that ‘marriage is less embedded within the economic system’ now and so there are fewer family firms. The family is also no longer a unit of production, so spouses are not so dependent on each other economically
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What does women having a separate source of income mean?
They don't have to tolerate conflict or the absence of love and in such circumstances, they are more willing to seek divorce
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What do feminists argue for the increase in divorce?
Married women today bear a dual burden as they are required to carry out paid work s well as domestic labour. This has created a new source of conflict between husbands and wives
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What does Hochschild argue?
That for many women, the home compares unfavourably with work where they feel valued, with mens continuing resistance to doing houseowrk is a source of frustration & makes marriage less stable
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What did Cooke & Gash find?
No evidence that working women are more likely to divorce and argue that this is because working has now become the accepted norm for married women
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What do New Right sociologists see high divorce rate as?
Undesirable as it undermines marriage & traditional nuclear family, which they regard as vital to social stability. Their view,high divorce creates growing underclass of welfare-dependent female lone parents who are burden to the state
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What do postmodernists & individualisation thesis see high divorce rate as?
Shows that individuals now have the freedom to choose an end to a relationship when it no loger meets the needs & see it as major cause of greater family diversity
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What do functionalists see high divorce rate as?
Not necessarily a threat to marriage as a social institution. Simply result of people's higher expectations of marriage today & high rate of re-marriage shows people's commitment to idea of marriage
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Outline changes in pattern of marriage
Fewer people are actually getting married: marriage rates are at their lowest since 1920s but been more re-marriages
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Why ave first marriage rates fallen?
Change in attitudes of marriage as there is now less pressure to marry and more freedom for individuals to choose the type of relationship they want e.g. cohabit
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Outline sttaistics on marriage and children from 1989 and 2012
1989, 70% believed that couples who want children should get married but in 2012 only 42% agreed with this
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What is the main reason for the increase in re-marriages?
The rise of number of divorces. Two have increased with one another so rising number of divorces provides a supply of people available to re-marry
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What is cohabitation?
Involves an unmarried couple in a sexual relationship living together and while the number of marriages have been falling, the number of cohabiting couples has in fact increased
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How many cohabiting couples are there?
Around 2.9 million cohabiting heterosexual couples in Britain and an estimated 69,000 same-sex cohabiting couples
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How is the relationship between marriage and cohabitation not clear-cut?
For some couples, cohabitation is a step towards marriage, whereas to others it’s a permanent alternative to marriage
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What does Chester argue?
That for most people, cohabitation is part of the process of getting married
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What does Stonewall say about same-sex relationships?
Says the campaign for lesbian, gay and bisexual rights, estimates that around 5-7% of the adult population today have same-sex relationships
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However, what is wrong with this?
Impossible to judge whether this represents an increase because in the past, stigma and illegality meant that such relationships were more likely to be hidden
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In modern society what has there been an increase of?
Social acceptance of same-sex relationships for example, male homosexual acts were decriminalised in 1967 for consenting adults over 21 and more recently the age of consent has been equalised with heterosexuals
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How has social policy treated couples more equally?
Since 2002 cohabiting couples have had the same right to adopt as married couples and in 2004, the Civil Partnership Act gave same-sex couples similar legal rights to married couples in respect of pensions, inheritance, tenancies and property
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What did Weeks argue?
That increased social acceptance may explain the trend towards same-sex cohabitation & stable relationships that resemble those found among heterosexuals
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What does Weeks see gays as?
Creating families based on the idea of friendship of kinship were friendship becomes a type of kinship network. Describes these as chosen families & argues that they offer the same security and stability as heterosexual families
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What do Allan and Crow argue?
Due to absence of such framework until recently same-sex couples have had to negotiate their commitment & responsibilities more than married couples. May have made same-sex couples both more flexible and less stable than heterosexual relationships
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Outline statistics on one-person households
In 2013 almost three in ten households contained only one person nearly three times the figure in 1961
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Outline statistics on pensioner one-person households
Doubles since 1961 and Men under 65 are the group most likely to live alone and by 2033 over 30% of the adult population is expected to be single
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What has increase in separation & divorce create more of and why?
One-person households especially men under 65 & due to following divorce, any children are more likely to live with their mother & father is more likely to move out of family home. Also, rise in nuber of people wishing to remain single or leave marri
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What is living apart together?
Is a couple who are in a significant relationship but are not married or cohabiting. It is often assumed that those not living with a partner don’t have one, whether from choice or not
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What did Duncan et al find from research on British Attitudes survey?
That about one in 10 adults are living apart together. This is about half of al the people classified as single. It has been suggested that this may reflect a trend towards less formalised relationships and ‘families of choice’
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However, what else did they find?
That both choice and constraint play a part in whether couples live together for example, some said they could not afford to however, a minority actively chose to live apart
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How many children are now born outside of marriage?
Half of all children - twice as many as 1986 but nearly all of these births are jointly registered by both parents as they tend to be cohabiting
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Outline average age change for women to have children
Between 1971 and 2012, their average age at the birth of their first child rose by four years to 28.1 years
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Outline record low of average number of children?
The average number of children per woman fell to a record low of 1.63 in 2001
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Outline reasons for increase in births outside of marriage
Decline in stigma and increase in cohabitation for example, 28% of 25-34 year olds now think marriage should come before parenthood and the later age which women are having children, smaller family sizes
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Outline statistics on children with lone-parents
22% of families with children are lone-parent families, one child in four lives in a lone-parent family and 90% are headed by lone-parent mothers.
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What can be linked to decline in stigma attached to births outside of marriage?
Due to the increase of divorce rates, separation and the number of never-married women having children the number of lone-parent families has risen
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Why do lone parents tend to be women?
The belief that women are by nature suited to an ’expressive’ or nurturing role and the fact that divorce courts usually give full custody of the children to the mothers
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What did Cashmore find?
That some working-class mothers with less earning power chose to live on welfare benefits without a partner often because they had experienced abuse
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What does New Right thinker Murray see growth of lone-parent families as?
Resulting from an over-generous welfare state providing benefits for unmarried mothers and their children which has created a perverse incentive
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What is Murray's solution?
abolish welfare benefits as he believes this would reduce the dependency culture that encourages births outside of marriage however, critics of the New Right views argue that welfare benefits are far from generous
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What are reasons for this?
Lack of affordable childcare prevents lone-parents from working, inadequate welfare benefits and most lone parents are women, who generally earn less than men
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Outline statistics on stepfamilies
Account for over 10% of all families with dependent children in Britain and in 85% of stepfamilies, at least one child is from the woman’s previous relationship, 11% of one child from mans previous & 4% are both partners
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What did Ferri & Smith find?
That stepfamilies are like first families in all major respects and that the involvement of stepparents in childcare and childbearing is a positive one however, they found that stepfamilies are at greater risk of poverty
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How are stepfamilies formed?
When the lone parents form new partnerships and therefore the factors causing an increase is the number of lone-parents, such as divorce and separation are also responsible for the creation in step families
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How has immigration created greater ethnic differences?
Immigration into Britain since the 1950s has helped to create greater ethnic diversity for example, in an analysis of the 2011 Census shows 86% of the UK population are white.
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What do Black Caribbean & Black African people have high proportion of?
Lone-parent households and in 2012, just over half of families with dependent children headed by a black person were lone-parent families. This compared with only one in nine Asian families and just under a quarter of the population as a whole
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What can this high proportion be linked to?
Evidence of family disorganisation that can be traced back to slavery or more recently high rates of unemployment among black males
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What does Mirza argue?
That the higher rate of lone-parent families among blacks is not the result of disorganisation but rather reflects the high value that black women place on independence
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What kind of households tend to contain three generations?
Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian households tend to be larger than those of other ethnic groups, at 4.4, 4.3 and 3 persons per household compared with 2.4 for both Black Caribbean and White British households
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What are larger Asian households reflecting?
The value placed on the extended family in Asian cultures
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What did Ballard find?
That extended family ties provided an important source of support among Asian migrants during the 1950s and 1960s
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What does Parsons say about the extended family?
Is the dominant family type in pre-industrial society but in modern industrial society it is replaced by the nuclear family
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What did Charles' study of Swansea find?
The classic three-generation family all living together under one roof is now ‘all but extinct’
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What does Willmott argue?
That the extended family does continue to exist as a ‘dispersed extended family’, where relatives are geographically separated but maintain frequency contact through visits and phone calls
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What do Bell's findings suggest?
The importance of the ‘beanpole family’ which is extended vertically but not extended horizontally
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What did Charles find?
The same high level of contact between mother and adult daughters that Bell had found in the 1960s however, in the case of brothers and sisters there had been a decline in both support and contact which suggests the beanpole structure
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What may beanpole families be result of?
Two demographic changes: increased life expectancy and smaller family sizes
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What did Finch and Mason find?
That over 90% of people had given or received financial help and around half cared for a sick relative
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What does Cheal find?
That where personal care for an elderly woman is needed, a daughter or daughter-in-law is preferred if the husband is not available and sons are rarely chosen as caregivers for an elderly woman
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What does evidence find about extended family?
Continues to play an important role for many people today even in modern society providing both practical and emotional support when needed however, this contradicts Parsons’ classic extended family
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What does Parsons see the nuclear family as?
Uniquely suited to meting the needs of the modern industrial society for geographically and socially mobile workforce and as performing two functions: the primary socialisation of the children and the stabilisation of adult personalities
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Due to family's ability to perform these essential functions what can we generalise about?
The type of family we would find in modern society – a nuclear family with the division of labour between the husband and wife
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What are other family types considered as?
Dysfunctional, abnormal or even deviant, since in the functionalist view they are less able to perform the functions required of the family
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What do New Right thinkers see about family type?
Only one correct family type – the traditional or conventional patriarchal nuclear family consisting of a married couple and their dependent children, with a clear division of labour between the breadwinner husband and the homemaker wife
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What do the New Right see this family type as?
Natural and based on fundamental biological differences between men and women. In their view, this family is the cornerstone of society; a place of refuge, contentment and harmony.
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What are the New Right against?
Most changes in family patterns such as: cohabitation, gay marriage and lone-parenthood. They argue that the decline in the traditional nuclear family and the growth of family diversity are the cause of many social problems.
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What are the New Right thinkers most concerned with?
Rising number of lone-parent families, which they see as resulting from the breakdown of couple relationships. They see lone-parent families as being harmful to children and argue that lone-mothers cannot discipline their children properly
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In his analysis on data of parents of over 15,000 babies what did Benson find?
That over the first three years of the baby’s life the rate of family breakdown was much higher among cohabiting couples
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In Benson's view why is marriage more stable?
Because it requires a deliberate commitment to each other, whereas cohabitation allows partners to avoid commitment and responsibility
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What do New Right thinkers and Conservative politicians argue?
That only a return to the traditional values including the value of marriage, can prevent social disintegration and damage to children
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What does Oakley argue New Right are wrong to assume?
That husbands and wives’ roles are fixed by biology. Instead, cross-cultural studies show great variation in the roles that men and women perform within the family
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According to feminists why is conventional nuclear family favoured by New Right?
Based on the patriarchal oppression of women and is a fundamental cause of gender inequality. In their view, it prevents women working, keeps them financially dependent on men and denies them an equal say in decision-making
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What does Chester recognise there has been an increase of?
Family diversity in recent years however, unlike the New Right he does not regard this as very significant, nor does he see it ahs a negative thing
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What does Chester argue the only important change is?
A move from the dominance of the traditional or conventional nuclear family, to what he describes as the neo-conventional family. By conventional family, Chester means the type of nuclear family described by the New Right and Parsons
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Why are statistics on households misleading?
They are just a snapshot of a single moment in time and don’t show that most people will spend a major part of their lives in a nuclear family
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What do Rapport & Rapport argue?
That diversity is of central importance in understanding family life today and believe that we have moved away from the traditional nuclear family as the dominant family type, to a range of different types
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In their view what does family diversity reflect?
Greater freedom of choice and the widespread acceptance of different cultures and ways of life in today’s society. Unlike the New Right, the Rapoports see diversity as a positive response to people’s different needs and wishes and not as abnormal
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What are the five types of family diversity in Britain today?
Organisational, Cultural, Social class, Life stage & Generational
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How do postmodernists such as Cheal go further than Rapports by believing?
We no longer live in modern society with its predictable, orderly structures such as the nuclear family. In their view, society has entered a new, chaotic, postmodern stage.
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In postmodern society what is there no longer need for?
A single, dominant, stable family structure such as the nuclear family. Instead, family structures have become more fragmented into many different types and individuals have much more choice in their lifestyles, personal relationships and family arra
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What does Stacey argue?
That greater freedom and choice has benefited women and it has enabled them to free themselves from patriarchal oppression and to shape their family arrangements to meet their needs
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In her study of life history interviews in California what did Stacey find?
Women rather than men have been the main agents of changes in the family for example, many of the women she interviewed had rejected the traditional housewife-mother role
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What did Stacey mean by divorce extended family?
Members are connected because of divorce rather than marriage. They key members are usually female and may include former in-laws such as mother and daughter in law or a man’s ex-wife and his new partner
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Outline Giddens and Beck's views influenced by postmodernist ideas
explore the effects of increasing individual choice upon families and relationships and so their views have become known as the individualisation thesis
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According to the thesis what were peoples lives like in the past?
Defined by fixed roles that largely prevented them from choosing their own life course for example, everyone was expected to marry and to take up their appropriate gender role whereas individuals today have fewer fixed roles
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Hoever, what can it be claimed about the individualisation thesis?
Exaggerates how much choice people have about family relationships today for example, Budgeon argues that this reflects the neoliberal ideology that individuals today have complete freedom of choice
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What does the thesis wrongly see?
People as disembodied, independent individuals and ignores the fact that our decisions and choices about personal relationships are made within a social context
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According to Giddens, what holds a relationship together?
No longer law, religion, social norms or traditional institutions as intimate relationships nowadays are based on individual choice and equality
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What does Giddens describe this kind of relationship as?
The pure relationship and sees it as typical of today’s late modern society, in which relationships are no longer bound by traditional norms
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What is the key feature of pure relationship?
It exists solely to satisfy each partner’s needs. As a result, the relationship is likely to survive only so long as both partners think it is in their own interest to do so
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What are individuals free to choose?
To enter and to leave relationships as they see fit however, Giddens notes that with more choice, personal relationships inevitably become less stable as either partners can end the relationship at any point
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What does Giddens see same-sex couples as leading the way towards?
New family types and creating more democratic and equal relationships. This is because same-sex relationships are not influenced by tradition to the extent that heterosexual couples ar
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What did Weston find?
That same-sex couples created supportive ‘families of choice’ from among friends, former lovers and biological kin
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What does Beck argue we now live in?
A risk society where tradition has less influence and people have greater choice and as a result we are more aware of risks. This is because making choices involves calculating the risks and rewards of different options open to us
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What does this contrast with?
An earlier time when people’s roles were ascribed by tradition and rigid social norms dictated how they should behave. For example, in the past people were expected to marry for life and once married men were expected to play the role of a breadwinne
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How has this patriarchal family been undermined by?
Greater gender equality which has challenged male domination and greater individualism where people’s actions are influenced more by calculations of their own self-interest than by a sense of obligation to others
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What have these trends led to?
Negotiated family - created by Beck & Beck-Gernsheim which doesn't conform to traditional family norm but varies according to wishes & expectations of their members who decide what is best for themselves by negotiation
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What is meant by the term zombie family?
In today’s uncertain risk society people turn to the family in hope of finding security, family relationships are themselves now subject to greater risk and uncertainty than ever before
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What does Smart argue from a personal life perspective?
That we are fundamentally social beings whose choices are always made ‘within a web of connectedness’
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According to connectedness thesis what do we live within?
Networks of existing relationships and interwoven personal histories and these strongly influence our range of options and choices in relationships
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What did Finch & Mason's study of extended families find?
That although individuals can to some extend negotiate the relationships they want, they are also embedded within family connections and obligations that restrict their freedom of choice
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What does the connectedness thesis emphasise?
The role of the class and gender structures in which we ae embedded. These structures limit our choices about the kinds of relationships, identities and families we create for ourselves
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What do Beck & Giddens argue about power of structures?
There has been a disappearance or weakening of the structures of class, gender and family that traditionally controlled our lives and limited our choices
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However, what does May argue?
These structures are not disappearing, they are being re-shaped
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Why did China have a one child policy?
China the government's population control policy has aimed to discourage coupes from having more than one child. The policy is supervised by workplace family planning committees; women must seek their permission to try to become pregnant
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What happens for couples who comply with the policy?
Get extra benefits, such as free child healthcare and higher tax allowances.
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What do functionalists see the state as?
Acting in the interests of society as a whole and its social policies as being for the good of all.
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What does Fletcher argue?
The introduction of health, education and housing policies in the years since the industrial revolution has gradually led to the development of a welfare state that supports the family in performing its functions more effectively
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What does the National Health service mean for society?
That with the help of doctors, nurses hospitals and medicines the family today is better able to take care of its members when they are sick
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Why has the functionalist view been criticised?
It assumes that all members of the family benefit equally from social policies, whereas feminists for example, argue that policies often benefit men at the expense of women
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What is Donzelot interested in?
How professionals carry out surveillance on families. He argues that social workers, health visitors and doctors use their knowledge to control and change families
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What does he reject?
The functionalists’ march of progress view that social policy and the professionals who carry it out have created a better, freer or more humane society. Instead, he sees social policy as a form of state control of the family.
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Why do Marxists & feminists criticise Donzelot?
Failing to identify clearly who benefits from such policies of surveillance. Marxists argue that social policies generally operate in the interests of the capitalist class, while feminists argue that men are the main beneficiaries
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What are the New Right in favour of?
The conventional nuclear family based on married, heterosexual couple, with a division of labour between a male provider and a female homemaker
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What do they see this type of family as?
Naturally self-reliant and capable of caring and providing for its members, especially the successful socialisation of children
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What does Almond argue?
Laws making divorce easier undermine the idea of marriage as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman and the introduction of civil partnerships for gay and lesbian couples sends out the message state no longer sees heterosexual marriage as su
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Outline the view of New Right thinkers and welfare policy
Providing ‘generous’ welfare benefits such as council housing for unmarried teenage mothers and cash payments to support lone-parent families, undermines the conventional nuclear family
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What does Murray argue about welfare benefits?
Offer ‘perverse incentives’ for example, if fathers see that the state will maintain their children, some of them will abandon their responsibilities towards their families.
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What do these policies threaten ?
Two essential functions that the family fulfils for society: the successful socialisation of the young and the maintenance of the work ethnic among men
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What advantages would this have?
Cutting welfare benefits would mean that taxes could also be reduced and both these changes would give fathers more incentive to work and provide for their families
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How has the New Right view of policy been criticised?
for example, feminists argue that it is an attempt to justify a return to the traditional patriarchal nuclear family that subordinated women to men and confined them to a domestic role It wrongly assumes that the patriarchal nuclear family is natural
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What did Mrs Thatcher’s conservative government ban?
Promotion of homosexuality by local authorities. This included a ban on teaching that homosexuality was an acceptable family relationship
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What did the Conservatives define divorce as?
A social problem and emphasised the continued responsibility of parents of their children after divorce
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What kind of measures did the Conservatives introduce opposed by New Right
Making divorce easier and giving illegitimate children the same right as those born to married parents
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What did the New Labour governments emphasise in 1997-2010?
The need for parents to take responsibility for their children for example, by introducing Parenting Orders for parents of truants and young offenders
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However, What do Smart et al say?
That New Labour rejected the New Right view that the family should have just one earner and recognised that women too now go out to work
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What kind of family do New Labour policies favour?
Dual-earner neo-conventional family described by Chester such as longer maternity leave, working families tax credit and the New Deal, helping lone parents to return to work.
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What did the Coalition government fail to introduce in 2010-15?
Policies that specifically promote the New Right ideal of a conventional heterosexual nuclear family for example, Browne found that two-parent families with children fared particularly badly because of the Coalition’s tax and benefit’s policies
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What do feminists argue?
That all social institutions, including the state and its policies help to maintain women’s subordinate position and the unequal gender division of labour in the family
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What does Land argue?
That many social policies assume that the ideal family is the patriarchal nuclear family with a male provider and female homemaker plus their dependent children. This norm of what the family should be like affects the kind of policies governing famil
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What is the effect of such policies?
Often to reinforce that particular type of family at the expense of other types, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy
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Outline some examples of policies by feminists
Tax and benefits policies which may assume that husbands are the main wage-earners and that wives are their financial dependents, childcare as while the government pays for some childcare for pre-school children
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However, what are all policies not directed at?
Maintaining patriarchy for example, equal pay and sex discrimination laws, the right of lesbians to marry, benefits fir lone parents, refuges for women escaping domestic violence and equal rights to divorce could all be said to challenge the patriarc
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What is a household?


Is a person living alone or a group of people living together e.g. sharing meals, bills, homework, etc. This group may or may not be related to one another

Card 3


Outline Parsons functionalist model of the family


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Why does Parson believe there is a division?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Outline criticisms of Parsons


Preview of the front of card 5
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