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AS and A Level: Family & Marriage

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UK trends - gender

  1. 1 Men tend to outperform women in terms of income, wealth, promotion at work; they are more likely to have full time and /or permanent contracts.
  2. 2 In the home men do less housework than women and are much less likely to suffer domestic violence than women. Men are more likely to have control of finances and power in decision making in the family.
  3. 3 Women have better life chances in terms of life expectancy, preferential treatment by courts when awarding custody of children, some evidence of greater leniency in sentencing, more time off paid work with their children, lower suicide rates and are doing better in schools.

Key UK trends - social class

  1. 1 At work, those in the working class are more likely to have a below average paid job, a temporary contract and work part time.
  2. 2 In terms of policing and the criminal justice system, the working class are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police and to be arrested.
  3. 3 In the family people from working class backgrounds are more likely to marry younger and to get divorced.
  4. 4 In terms of health the working class are more likely, more likely to smoke, to miscarry their baby, to die of an accident at work and to die before their first birthday.
  5. 5 In education the working class are more likely to be placed in lower streams or sets at school, to leave school with fewer educational qualifications, and much less likely than the middle class to go to university.

Key UK trends - ethnicity

  1. 1 African Caribbean Britons are at high risk of being stopped and searched, getting longer custodial sentences, being excluded from school, being unemployed, living in a single parent family and achieving the lowest average GCSE scores.
  2. 2 British Bangladeshis and Pakistanis have the highest rates of poverty, living in cramped housing and female unemployment.
  3. 3 British Indians and British Chinese have higher than average educational success rates.
  4. 4 White Britons have better life chances than ethnic minorities in nearly all areas, with the exception of the British Indians and British Chinese.
  5. 5 There are significant differences WITHIN ethnic groups, so men and women, people from different social classes and ages have significantly different life chances.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 11
  • Peer Reviewed essays 1
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate the Marxist view of the family

    5 star(s)

    The superstructure maintains the infrastructure whilst the infrastructure shapes the superstructure. The family helps to maintain this system. Friedrich Engels' 1884 study provides a basis for the Marxist view of the family. Engels aimed to trace its origin through time, and found that changes to the structure of the family were strongly linked to the evolution of the capitalist system. He also explored the concept of monogamy and argued that the monogamous nuclear family developed with the emergence of private ownership of the 'means of production'.

    • Word count: 497
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate the functionalist view of the role of the family in society [33 marks]

    5 star(s)

    on the instrumental role and provide for the family while the woman will adopt the expressive role and take care of the home and family members. Marxists would contest this viewpoint?arguing that the division of labour is capitalist dogma used to control the labour force and stop them from developing consciousness. The final function identified by Murdock was the educational functional?this is the socialisation function of the family. It is this function that maintains the value consensus which allows society to remain functional.

    • Word count: 590
  3. Marked by a teacher

    Critically examine the Functionalist idea that the nuclear family exists for the benefit of everyone.

    5 star(s)

    Sociologists use the term 'the dark side' to refer to the negative side of the family that challenges the functionalist idea of the 'happy family' with accounts of child abuse domestic violence and divorce rate. Feminists, such as Elliot (1996) point out that there is a 'dark side' of the modern-day family. The "dark side" of the family is found in the patterns of abuse and family violence that often occur within it. Feminists argue it is based around the principles that the family contains a large amount of psychological harm for women, women do the majority of housework, even

    • Word count: 1611
  4. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the ways in which laws and social policies affect family life.

    4 star(s)

    Both New Right and New Labour are in favour of the nuclear family because they view it as the best way for a child to be adequately socialised. The New Right view the division of labour as natural and based on biology; when these roles are fulfilled the family will become self-reliant and not have to rely on the state for support. New Labour also support the nuclear family as the best place to raise children, but are supportive of benefits targeted at the poor rather than a totally laissez-faire approach.

    • Word count: 845
  5. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the extent to which roles within the family are becoming more equal or shared

    4 star(s)

    Also, they believe that men are the ones that usually take charge when making important decisions. This collaboration seems to have a feminist perspective because their beliefs suggest that men hold women back and do not allow them to become their own person in the way they should. A criticism is that this feminist view assumes too much, as there are many women who take charge of their lives and strive to have a life separate from the one she has at home. In addition, it seems that generally feminist resent how women have always had a lower status to men, and therefore less authority, and are not able to let go of that and accept that times are changing and women are becoming more prominent in society, especially in the professional environment.

    • Word count: 1156
  6. Marked by a teacher

    Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households

    4 star(s)

    The family meets some of society?s essential needs by socialising children. This is regarded as a basic building block of society. Murdock argues that the family performs four essential functions to meet the needs of society and its members. These include; stable satisfaction of the sex drive, reproduction of the next generation, socialisation of the young and meeting its member?s economic needs. Murdock argues that the nuclear family because of its sheer practicality is a way of meeting the four needs of society and that this can be found universally.

    • Word count: 1051
  7. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate the functionalist view of the role of the family

    4 star(s)

    Everyone in society has a role to fulfil. Doing these makes society work effectively meaning a re - function. Next Functionalists explain the family also provides the function of economic provision. The family provide a shelter, food, financial support and comfort for the sick. Without the family providing this function I don't believe society would survive as who else would be able to provide the support they already do. Society will benefit from this as people are happy as they are getting the help they need to work hard and poverty can be stopped.

    • Word count: 1521
  8. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the factors affecting the domestic division of labour and power relations between couples.

    4 star(s)

    In the stage 3 symmetrical families, conjugal roles become joint, however the wife still has primary responsibility for housework and child rearing, husbands become more involved, often washing clothes, ironing and sharing other domestic duties. Husband and wife shared responsibility for decisions that affect the family; they discuss matters such as household finance and their children's education to a greater degree than stage 2. There are many reasons as to why conjugal roles have changed over the years. Ann Oakley looked into the change being due to housework and childcare.

    • Word count: 1066
  9. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the sociological views of the relationship between the family and industrialisation

    3 star(s)

    Before the compulsory education act in 1880, the family performed the acts of primary and secondary socialisation. Working class families had high illiteracy rates. However, during the Industrial revolution the nuclear family became more dominant in society. ?Industrialism? refers to the mass production if goods in a factory using mechanisms, it was work that was centred in factories and based in cities which meant there was an increase in individuals from the extended family leaving the home to work for wage and not the basic survival as in the past.

    • Word count: 1077
  10. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households.

    3 star(s)

    New nuclear family provided the husband and wife with clear social roles. Wives were expressive Leaders (takes care of children and provides emotional support), Husbands were Instrumental Leaders (bread winner and provides protection). Parsons concluded that the nuclear family is the only family that can provide the achievement orientated and geographically mobile workforce needed by modern industrial economies. Parsons saw nuclear families as ?personality factories? whereby citizens who conform and have certain norms are created. Functionalists believe the family has specific functions: Stabilisation of adult personality.

    • Word count: 832
  11. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the View that the Family is a Universal Institution

    3 star(s)

    The family is universal because it performs essential function necessary for survival and continuity. This then proves that the family works efficiently together and uses its resources effectively in society. The family's purpose for society is inseparable from its purpose for its individual members. The sexual function is a good example that the family serves both at the same time in the same way. The husband and wife have the right of sexual contact to each other and there are rules unwelcoming affairs in most societies. It also strengthens the family since sexual activities often unite husband and wife.

    • Word count: 902
  12. Peer reviewed

    Examine the contribution of functionalist explanations towards an understanding of the family

    4 star(s)

    - they tend to take a more negative view of the family and argue that functionalist views of the family have many flaws. 'The family is a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It contains adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults. ' This is George Murdock's (1949) definition of the family, which he concluded was universal and has always existed.

    • Word count: 2023
  13. Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households

    Right-wing sociologists suggest that this is the ideal type of family to which people should aspire to. It was generally accepted that this family, which was the statistical norm until the 1908'2 should have the certain characteristics. Firstly, it should be small and compact in structure, composed of a mother, father and 2-3 children. Secondly, they should live together in a household. Also, the relationship between the adults should be heterosexual and based on romantic love. The children are seen as the outcome of that love. Another characteristic is that the male role is economic breadwinner and head of household, whereas the female role is nurturing and childcare.

    • Word count: 707
  14. Outline and Evaluate the view that nuclear families benefit individuals and society

    Sociologists have been divided upon the issue regarding nuclear families; Functionalists stress the positive aspect of family. In particular, they focus on the positive role of one particular family type: the nuclear family. Murdoch (1949) claimed the family was a universal institution. He studied 250 societies and found the family, in some form, was present in all of them. This suggests that families are necessary in some way, whether it be for societies to survive, for individual well-being, or indeed both.

    • Word count: 458
  15. To what extent is the family a declining social institution in Britain?

    New Right thinkers believe the only functional family set up is the nuclear family unit and so from this point of view they would be right to think the family is in decline but it is a radical point of view and most agree that it is narrow minded and stubborn. Conservative politicians of the New Right will attribute the decline in the family as caused by and a cause of: declining moral standards, social disorder, drug abuse, rising crime rates, vandalism, educational failure and increased violence.

    • Word count: 885
  16. Examine the view that the nuclear family is universal. (24)

    Murdock says that this family performs four functions essential to the continued existence of society; the first function according to Murdock was the reproductive function where society requires new members to ensure its survival, this is seen in procreation, which occurs within a martial and family context. The second function is a sexual function, which serves both society and the individual. Unregulated sexual behaviour has the potential to be socially disruptive, according to Murdock. However, marital sex, as said by Murdock, creates a powerful emotional bond between couple, encourages fidelity and therefore commits the individual to family life.

    • Word count: 2171

    Children were in effect mini adults with same rights, duties and skills as adults. For example, the law often made no distinction between children and adults, and children often faced the same severe punishments as those given to adults. Also parental attitudes towards children in the middle ages were very different from those today. Edward Shorter (1975) argues that high death rates encouraged indifference and neglect, especially towards infants. For example, it was not uncommon for parents to give a new born baby the name of a recently dead sibling, to refer to the baby as 'it', or to forget how many children they had.

    • Word count: 1101
  18. Examine the view that the distribution of domestic tasks between family members has become more equal.

    Willmott and Young agree with the statement that distribution of domestic tasks between family members have become equal. During the 1970's they announced the arrival of the symmetrical family, a family in which the roles of husband and wife were similar. They stated that in the home the couple 'shared their work and shared their time'. Husbands were seen to be increasingly helping with domestic chores, child rearing and decision making about family life. Willmott and Young found that 72% of husbands helped with these household tasks.

    • Word count: 472
  19. Assess the view that changes in the law are the main cause of increases in the divorce rate

    As previously mentioned, legal changes have had a large effect on the way we can get divorces. In the 19th century, it was almost impossible to get a divorce "In the past, divorce was less common because the law made it difficult to obtain" (Item 2b). But now, it is so much easier for example legal aid for couples and divorcees and also laws have been introduced that allow a much wider scope on which grounds someone can be divorced on (the Divorce Law Reform Act 1969).

    • Word count: 834
  20. The Sociology of Family

    George Peter Murdock (1949) claimed that family was universal. It is defined as a social group characterised by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. A family lives in the same home, has economic co-operation as in they share the bills, finances and food buying/consumption. The adults have socially approved sex, have one or more children either blood born or adopted. This definition of a universal family still has some relevance in post modern Britain. A family in the present day and age may just have one adult but still function as a unit.

    • Word count: 1196
  21. Outline and explain how the roles of women in the families may have altered since 1945. [15]

    He claimed that this division of labour was beneficial for both men and women, children and society. However, Michael Young and Peter Willmott (1962) argued that men were now taking a greater share in domestic tasks around the house and with the children and that more wives were becoming wage earners. Young and Willmott were not the only ones who rejected Parsons View as Feminists and Sociologists state that the division of labour was only beneficial for men. Women's roles began to change as Joint conjugal roles were introduced into society.

    • Word count: 755
  22. (a)Outline and explain reasons why patterns of childbearing have changed in contemporary British society.

    This meant that there was a pattern of 'quantity' and not necessarily 'quality' in the households. From the 1950's onwards, medical factors began to play a greater role in the decline in infant mortality rates as the mass immunization against childhood diseases such as whopping cough and the use of antibiotics meant that more infections could be fought and less death's were seen. The decline in infant mortality rates was just one of the factors which contributed to the decrease in childbearing. Another factor which has caused fluctuations in childbearing rates is that throughout the years, in contemporary British Society, norms have changed about what children have to expect from their parents in material terms and children have now become an economic liability.

    • Word count: 749
  23. Who Needs Marriage? is a scientific article written in 1988 by Gerald C. Lubenow. The article deals with different views on marriage and how the meaning of being married has changed

    The article starts out by mentioning that an increasing number of Scandinavian young couples with children are avoiding marriage. Especially in Sweden are there signs of antipathy to marriage. But why is it that people are kind of afraid of marriage? Lubenow tries to find out it by interviewing several Scandinavian couples. First real life case is the career woman Anne Raneke who is alone of parenting her daughter Josefine and never wanted to get married. She doesn't live together with the father of her child, but she receives child support from him each month. She has always determined to avoid marriage and is holding on to that.

    • Word count: 1344
  24. Families come in many shapes and sizes, from rich to poor, from Brazil all the way to Hong Kong, meaning that they come from different cultures, races, ethnicity and economic statuses. One particular essay written by Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian ha

    GB 2 Many times people are portrayed here and there as Americans, for all families have the same opportunities to get some success if they can just find some common ground to support each other, saying, that there is no need for the nuclear-type of family . As in the narrative by Roger Jack, "An Indian Story", portrays a form of patriarchal family, where the child of the story has lost his mother, when he was younger, and even though his dad remarried and has other children, he decides to live separate, living and getting raised, mostly, by his aunt.

    • Word count: 1321
  25. This essay will therefore attempt to assess the changes in the status of childhood. This can be done by comparing the western idea of childhood today with the childhood in the past and in other societies.

    Essay Sociologists claim that childhood is a social construction; something that is created and defined by society. This essay will therefore attempt to assess the changes in the status of childhood. This can be done by comparing the western idea of childhood today with the childhood in the past and in other societies. Aries (1960) believed childhood is a concept developed with the industrial age with the children getting education, not used as child labour. He also believes that in the middle ages the idea of childhood 'did not exist'. Children were not seen as having different needs from adults, as long as they had passed the stage of physical dependency.

    • Word count: 949

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Explain and briefly evaluate ways in which femininities are created and reinforced in contemporary society.

    "In conclusion, there are still traditional gender roles in our society that emphasise the dominance and power of men, encouraging and reinforcing that women should be more passive and domestic. However, there is more awareness today and these roles are forever being challenged, for example, the new 'ladette culture' that has come about recently, where girls and young women are taking on what has traditionally been male behaviour, ladettes involve themselves in binge drinking, casual sex and swearing. Also the 'poxy cupid' where in schools the slightest hint of sexism, is being challenged by fierce female pupils, behaviour designed to scare the teachers and even the most dominant males. Despite this, the roles we are 'taught' are still very powerful and influential because they are socialised into children from birth in the home, then reinforced in wider society, having an impact on their adult roles and personalities. Sociology - Naomi Harding"

  • Analyse the differences between primary and secondary socialisation

    "In summary, we have looked at certain key points about primary and secondary socialisation such as when they occur and what they teach us and it is reasonable to conclude that there are some vast differences between the two. Although they follow the same structure in that they both have socialising agents and agencies, there is a vast difference between what these agents and agencies teach us and what their purpose is. However, they are both vitally important when it comes to making an individual who they become in later life."

  • Using information from the items and elsewhere, assess the extent to which pupil subcultures are the cause of failure at school

    "To conclude I believe that subculture to some extend are the case of failure at school, in that a number of pupils do not value education, and focus on building a 'cool' reputation within their subculture. In most cases that means that the students with interrupt lessons and not do set tasks set by the teacher, which as a result will bring down achievement as they are not focusing on the information given by the teacher and also them kind of students are not allowing pro-school subcultures to learn because of the bad behaviour or interruptions going on in class. However I think subcultures vary in many aspects and different subcultures will have different ideologies depending where they live, their socio-class and the background they come from. Not all subcultures are anti-school, there are also pro-school subcultures, so we can not generalize subcultures. P.S I am not sure if I answered the question correctly, if not then SORRY. By Saida Murati"

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