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Assess the view that working class underachievement in education is the result of home circumstances and family background.

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Introduction

Assess sociological views of the relationship between the family and industrialisation. Industrialisation has had a significant affect upon the family and there are a variety of studies and theories to explore and explain the relationship between them. Industrialisation occurred mainly during the 18th century. Before this, Britain was agricultural and the majority of its citizens were self-sufficient. The pre-industrial family, according to Wilmott and Young's historical study of the family, was responsible for the production of the food and clothing, and would trade with neighbours or extended kin for other good they required and were unable to produce themselves. There was no separation between the home and the work place as the family was a unit of production, usually in agriculture or textiles, and roles were based on ascription rather than achievement. Duty and obligation to the family were key values and meant that role bargaining did not take place as family members accepted these roles without question. ...read more.

Middle

According to Functionalists, the family evolves to meet the needs of the economy. For example, it required a more geographically mobile workforce the nuclear families moved away from their extended kin, a process which Talcott Parsons named structural differentiation. Industrialisation meant that many of the traditional family functions could be carried out by institutions other than the family: families became consumers instead of producers. Financial support could be provided by the state instead of wider kin, and clothes and food would be purchased as the family earned a wage. This resulted in separation between the home and work place, and roles were achieved rather than ascribed as the system was more meritocratic. This also meant that the family became less reliant on kin for economic and social support and more focused on the nuclear family members. This resulted into the nuclear family being described as 'isolated'. Interestingly, the average age for a woman to marry decreased from 26 in1700 to 23 in 1800, and the proportion of women who did not marry more than halved. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore, the idea that families moved away from their wider kin in order to seek employment is more likely to be true of the working classes than the middle or upper, as they would not be working in factories. However the structure of the family was affected, it is clear that industrialisation had a significant impact upon the main functions of the family, particularly economic and educational as the state became responsible for health, education and welfare. This resulted in the family being responsible mainly for primary socialization and the stabilisation of adult personalities. To conclude, industrialisation has affected the family in numerous ways, both in structure and function. The family evolved to meet the demands of industrialisation, such as by being geographically mobile, and industrialisation meant that the needs of the family were met, such as the introduction of the benefits system. Conjugal bonds and roles have also developed: the husband and wife of the symmetrical family are far closer than that of the early industrial family and the sexual distribution of labour is more equal. Marilyn Wilkinson and James White ...read more.

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