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

Assess the view that the Nuclear Family is no longer the norm'' - Functionalism vs. Post Modernism

Extracts from this document...


Rosalind Cresswell ' Assess the view that the Nuclear Family is no longer the norm'' - Functionalism vs. Post Modernism The Nuclear family is seen as the traditional family and it is made up of a husband, a wife and one or more children, which can be either biological or adopted. In the family the husband is usually the breadwinner and is instrumental towards the children, where as the wife should be responsible for the housework and plays an expressive role towards the children. This is known as a 'cereal packet' family. Murdock a functionalist sociologist (1949) argued that nuclear family is a 'universal social grouping', which can be found in all societies, however according to postmodernists nuclear families are not necessarily the most effective family. One reason that the nuclear family isn't necessarily considered the norm anymore would be an increase in same-sex couples because it has become more socially acceptable as homosexuality was legalised in the UK in 1967. This has meant that there are more same sex couples and they now have the chance to adopt. ...read more.


Charles Murray (1984) sees the growth in lone parent families as result from an over generous welfare state providing benefits for unmarried mothers and their children, he also argues that this had created 'perverse incentive' and that it rewards irresponsible behaviour. On the other hand critics of Functionalism and the New Right argue that welfare benefits are far from generous and lone parent families are more likely to be in poverty and so typically would not chose this life style. The reconstituted family or stepfamily is made up of divorced or widowed people who have remarried, and their children from previous marriage. The rise in divorce has meant that this type of family has increased. Divorce has become more acceptable because there were changes in the law, a decline in stigma and people now have higher expectations of marriage. Postmodernists see a high divorce rate as giving individuals the freedom to choose to end a relationship when it no longer meets their needs. Divorce used to be frowned upon and not accepted in society; people who did it were seen as weak. ...read more.


However a study of Pakistani families in Essex showed that they are most likely to live in traditional Nuclear Families, however they also live in extended families. Extended families are where one or more Grandparent lives with the family so there are three or more generations living under one roof. Post Modernism states it is no longer expected for people to be married with children in a typical Nuclear Family. Men no longer have a clear cut position as women are working and getting money in, which results in men helping round the house more. This has led to men redefining both their family commitments and their sexuality, instead of the warm bath theory being practised it is much more common for both sexes to share the responsibilities. In contrast to this functionalism states that although there have been some minor changes to society the basic features of family life have remained largely unchanged for the majority of the population since the 1950's. In conclusion, there is no doubt that the Nuclear Family is very common however the increasing number of other family types point towards a slow but steady change away from the nuclear ideal. ...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 Family & Marriage 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 Family & Marriage essays

  1. Assess the view that the nuclear family is no longer the norm

    They also believe marriage is essential basis or creating a stable environment for children an d that cohabitation and divorce create family instability because they allow adults to avoid commitment and responsibilities, giving children a bad example. Postmodernists, like Tamara Hareven, criticize the modernist idea that there is a dominant family type.

  2. Examine the view that the nuclear family is universal. (24)

    caste declared himself to be the father of the child by paying a fee of cloth and vegetables to the midwife who attended the birth. However it mattered little whether he was the biological parent or not, as long as someone claimed to be the father, because he did not help to maintain or socialise the child.

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

    the less wealthy, giving access to free legal aid and even paid solicitors fees. The economical aspects of divorce were further facilitated with the extension of welfare provisions, especially for single parents with school aged children and with the passing of the 'Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000', which provided maintenance costs (Haralahambos & Holborn, 2006).

  2. Discuss the view that the modern family is becoming more diverse

    The existence of solo living, cohabitation, serial monogamy and gay couples are a serious factor in all of this. There have been many changes within society on what a family actually is or how it is interpreted. With modern society as it is today people have their own beliefs and opinions and are much more relaxed about the family.

  1. Assess the view that marriage is no longer a popular institution in todays postmodernist ...

    Juliet Mitchell and Jack Goody (1997) note that an important change since the 1960?s has been the rapid decline in stigma attached to divorce. In the past, divorces and divorcees have been stigmatised. For example, churches tended to condemn divorce and would often refuse to conduct marriage services involving divorcees.

  2. Assess the extent to which the traditional nuclear family is the norm in contemporary ...

    This is carried out by a gendered division of labour. He claims that parents specialize in different roles, which are determined by their biology. Women carry out the expressive roles within the home; this includes nurturing and caring, whilst the father carries out instrumental roles.

  1. Examine the changes in the rate of divorce since 1969

    In that sense, it is true that divorce rates are rising, but maybe the meaning of the divorce isn?t real, or that a small percentage of those divorces in the UK and around the world are remarriages to the same people.

  2. Is the nuclear family in decline?

    According to persons the nuclear family does not form an integral part of a wider system of relationships, although there might be contacts between members of a wider family and others. persons suggested that might be as a result of choice rather than anything binding, this he put forward make

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