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Definition of the Family and the increase in Divorce.

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1a. Assess the view that the family is universal? (24 marks) The term "universal" is define as applicable in all cases, therefore this means that the family is universal institution found predominantly in everysociety. Taking that into account, there has been an endeavour to define the term "family". Functionalist George Murdock defined the family as "social group characterized by common residence, consisting of adults of both sexes and dependent children". Murdock conducted a research in 250 different societies and found that it performs four following essential functions to meet the needs of society and its members; stable satisfaction of sex drive, reproduction of the next generation, socialisation of young children, and economic needs. However, there has been a contradiction to Murdock definition of the family. In an article "is the family universal" summarised the family arrangement found the Nayar community. During the eighteenth century particularly in Kerala, India there was a non-existence of the nuclear family. ...read more.


Therefore, Murdock was correct in assuming that they would not be categorised as a family. Although, nuclear family is not universal, sociologist should not examine the definition of the family. Instead, they should examine other different units, such as an extended family and what functions they can perform for the society. As David Held argued that sociologist should not generalise from their own time, place and experience. 1b. Discuss reasons for the inqcreasing divorce rates in Britain (24 marks) The term 'divorce rate' refers to the frequency of divorce per year in Britain. Since the 1960's there has been a great increase in the number of divorces in the United Kingdom. Interestingly, sociologists have offered justifiable explanations to the increasing divorce rates in Britain. Divorce was quite difficult to acquire the 19th century, particularly for women. Progressively, amendments in laws made divorce easier to obtain. For example, when the grounds were equalised for both men and women, this contributed to the rapid rise in number of divorce petitions from women. ...read more.


This is decisively suggests that there is still a demand for religious weddings, even amongst those who have been divorced before. Many women are now financially independent from their husbands due to better education and career prospect. Therefore, this gives them the greater freedom to end unsatisfactory marriage. Notably, the growing impact of feminist view on family that family is suppressive patriarchal institution may perhaps also discourage women from getting married. However, feminist argue that the fact that women are now wage earners and homemakers has led to a conflict between husband and wives and leading to divorce. Feminist also argued that marriage still remains patriarchal, as men benefit from their wives' domestic labour and emotion work etc. This indicates that the changing in women's position is problematic in marriage. Although, there justifiable explanations to the increasing divorce rates in Britain, sociologist fail to identify the noticeable underlying causes of divorce. For example, In 2007-8, 84% of recorded domestic abuse incidents were violence against a woman committed by a man. Therefore, sociologist should not generalise from their own understanding. ...read more.

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