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In Britain today, most people live in nuclear families - The aim of this piece of coursework is to look at different sources to investigate this hypothesis.

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Introduction

In Britain today, most people live in nuclear families The aim of this piece of coursework is to look at different sources to investigate the hypothesis above. This will show me whether despite the variation of attitudes in society today there is still a dominant view of the family and also different types of family in a household structure. There is no single right or wrong definition for the family, which applies to all societies as families can come in all different shapes and sizes. The stereotypical view of husband and wife with two children no longer exists. An argument put forward by many sociologists is the family as a unit has lost many of its functions. For example in pre-industrial society parents' are responsible for the health, welfare and education of their children. But now the state in the form of specialised organisations such as hospitals, schools and social security have adopted these roles. But I think it is difficult to say that the family has lost many of its functions when there is no clear definition for what a family is. In views of a British sociologist Ronald Fletcher "Parents are expected to do their best to guide, encourage and support their children in their educational and occupational choices and careers." Quote taken from Sociology textbook. Families vary enormously in structure and size from society to society, as do the roles played by different members. For instance, the nuclear family usually consists of two adults and their children that can be biological or adopted. The extended family may include three or four generations, as well as uncles, aunts, and cousins. In India, for example, households often include parents, all their children and all their children's spouses and children, and sometimes the parents' own brothers and sisters! However in recent years in western societies there has been an increase in the number of one-parent families, which may consist of an unmarried mother and her child or children, or else of a father or mother, left without a partner through death or divorce, and his or her children. ...read more.

Middle

Also nowadays it is perfectly normal for the wife to obtain a full time job whilst still up holding the maintenance and care of house and family. With much attention led to trying and creating economical stability a lot of stress can be applied to the relationship as both partners do not have enough time to spend with each other. This is just two reasons why divorce rates may have increased. If you look on the graph after 1971 there was a surge in divorce rates but also there was a surge in marriages. This shows that marriage is still popular but people may have expectations of this perfect marital life, which in reality may be difficult causing a strain on relationships and in turn leading to divorce. In 1971 the marriage rate in Britain was around 400 thousand and by 1991 it was about 350. With divorce in 1971 over 50 thousand, which is about 300-350 thousand difference compared to marriage of the same year. But by 1991 the divorce rate was just under 200 thousand showing around about 150 thousand increase in divorce over 20 years and only around about 150 thousand difference between marriage and divorce in 1991. This shows an exceptional decline in the difference between divorce and marriage rates. In association to the hypothesis this source shows that the overall marriage rate is declining and divorce rate is increasing. However the marriage rate is still by 1991 150 thousand more than the divorce rate, which is a considerable amount. So I would say that this source would support the hypothesis as marriage is still popular and a nuclear family is based on a married couple with children. We know from source one that married couples have the overall majority of dependant children. Source 4. Source four is a photograph of my family. It consists of two parents and two children of opposite sex, which complies with the stereotype of 2:4 ratio involved with a nuclear family. ...read more.

Conclusion

The quotes from The Archbishop of Canterbury and the psychiatrist are opinionated and promote individual views on family and therefore can be unreliable to more of an extent then the data sources. The range of my family photo does not portray other families from all around Britain and the comparison with other friends can be unreliable too as firstly the range is too small and secondly as we all live in the same are the nuclear family can be typical to this part of the country likewise it could be atypical to other parts of the country. The advertisement's sole purpose is to promote I toy to gain profits; it is extremely bias towards the nuclear family and disregards all other types of family. The source promoting the IYF recognises that families are different around the world and there does not have to be a typical family so I would say it was less reliable than the government data but more reliable than the opinionated sources. Therefore in order to come to a justified conclusion for the hypothesis "In Britain today, most people live in nuclear families" I would have to plan an investigation with a much wider range of source that were both primary and secondary. But in relation to this piece of coursework with the six sources that I have collected they strongly agree with the hypothesis, but they do recognise that family life has changed and that even though 78% of families in Britain are nuclear families the percentage of lone parents and reconstituted families has increased quite substantially over the years. This could be to do with people's financial situation, careers, compatibility and attitudes towards the family. Also pressure of staying in a relationship from both partner and family along with the change in laws can cause the divorce rate to increase and put many people off from firstly getting married and then starting a family and settling down for the rest of their lives. By Amareen Bhambra 11B. C:\Documents and Settings\Amareen Bhambra\My Documents\Humanities\family coursework.docPage 1 of 8 ...read more.

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