• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the claim that the nuclear family as a dominant form of family structure has been replaced by a wide variety of types of families

Extracts from this document...


Assess the claim that 'the nuclear family as a dominant form of family structure has been replaced by a wide variety of types of families'. The 'nuclear family' has been described to be a family in which there are two parents in a heterosexual relationship with their biological children, some sociological perspectives would view the nuclear family as the best type such as Functionalism and the New Right. Between 1961 and 1998 the percentage of households qualifying as nuclear families had fallen from 38% to 23%. There have been rises in other types of family such as gay and lesbian families, lone parent families and reconstituted families. Other types of family have become more accepted in recent years, this trend is likely to increase over the next generations. This assignment will explore the nuclear family as a dominant form of family structure, the variety of types of family and whether the nuclear family has been replaced, by these by using case studies and theories. The Rapoports, The New Right and Postmodernism all believe that the nuclear family has been replaced by a wide variety of other family types, whereas on the other hand Jennifer Sommerville and Robert Chester will argue against this claim. ...read more.


New Right supporters would argue that it is because of the replacement of the nuclear family by wider family types that, in their view, society is failing. They believe that other types are unnatural and have lead to family decline and social problems such as the lack of male role models has lead to a dependency on the welfare state and higher crime rates. As the New Right see the nuclear family as the best family form they view diversity as a crisis. The New Right answer to the crisis of diversity is to cut benefits and enforce responsibility on parents to attempt to reinforce the position of the traditional family. The simple basic views and beliefs of the New Right show that they do believe that the nuclear family has been replaced and it is because of this that society is failing. Further research appears to confirm diversity in the family. Twenty-five percent of all households comprise of people living alone. Of all households, twenty-seven percent are married people without children. In working class communities, dispersed extended family arrangements still exist, which are kept together by modern communications such as the Internet and phone. ...read more.


Robert Chester [1985] denies that the nuclear family has been replaced by other family types and places more emphasis on the idea of the 'neo-conventional family' which is a traditional family however the women of the family work as well as the men. He believed that the majority of people still lived in nuclear families however life cycles often result in people not living in traditonal family units. He argues it is misleading to simply use 'snapshot' statistical figures relating to the composition of family structures at any given moment, simply because people's lives are much more changeable in modern societies which, in effect, means they are likely to experience a diverse range of family experiences. Most of which will, in some form or another, involve living in a nuclear-type arrangement or, possibly more notably, wanting to live in that type of arrangement should the chance to do so be available. He therefore argues that the nuclear family has not been replaced by diversity in family types. Jennifer Sommerville would agree with Chester in arguing that the decline of the traditional nuclear family has been exaggerated and had not been replaced, as there is substantial evidence that the nuclear family still exists and that the majority of the population still live within it. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Work & Leisure section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Work & Leisure essays

  1. Functions of the family for individuals and for society

    Thus, this unit should be seen as a multi functional body which is indispensible to society. T Parsons argues a similar line to Murdock. Parsons claims that families in America perform two functions. These are : the primary socialisation of children an the stabilisation of the adult personality.

  2. a) With reference to the Items and elsewhere, assess the view that the introduction ...

    Social classes are the divisions of people in a capitalist society, they are usually measured by wealth, income and career. The higher the class the richer the person or the more power they have. The middle classes are performing better in the education system and thus achieving more than the lower working classes.


    It is claimed that teacher observation of pupils and the judgements about pupil ability and attitude which result, can have profound effects on the future performance of pupils. Interactionists argue that the labels that teachers attach to pupils are often not based on objective criteria.

  2. Critically examine the view that society is becoming Mcdonalized using relevant examples to illustrate ...

    look at Shopping malls; once described by Kowinski (cited in Ritzer1996: 4) as "Cathedrals of Consumption". The shopping mall demonstrates maximum efficiency for consumers and producers and shows predictability, control and calculability too. Shopping malls incorporate everything under one roof, people may go to buy clothes, homewear and groceries, they are therefore efficient to shop in and to locate in.

  1. Religion can both be a conservative force and an initiator of social change. To ...

    An example of this is in the USA, where Reverend W.A Criswell spent 50 years insisting that the Bible is the unerring word of God and that its historical accuracy is beyond question. Criswell led a domination of 16 million people and he and his followers worked untiringly to ensure that their conservative social agenda dominated the US political debate.

  2. Examine the reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in ...

    As the Age of Marriage increases people are less likely to divorce, as they are more aware of what a relationship involves. Changing attitudes has meant that people are no longer prepared to stay in a bad marriage if they are not getting what they want from the marriage they have no hesitation in divorce.

  1. Find out what subjects girls study more in higher education as well as for ...

    In 2002/03, 76 per cent of school or further education students who entered for GCE A level (or equivalent) physics and 74 per cent of those entered for computer studies in the United Kingdom were male. Other male-dominated subjects included economics (69 per cent)

  2. "Society originates because the individual is not self sufficient and no two of us ...

    This requires the use of "experts on ships and seafaring"8, a "market"9 to buy and sell imports and other goods and a "currency as the medium of exchange"10. The marketplace would also require a "class of retailers"11 whose sole

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work