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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

    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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Altruists Attract and Origins of Mating Behavior In the experiment study altruists attract researchers concluded that people tend to co-oporate with the more attractive members of the opposite sex.

    For example, males tend to give more money to women beggars than to the same sex beggars-males. Second article talked about origins of mating and how people choose partners when it comes to mating. Charles Darwin was the first who proposed the theory of sexual selection, emphasizing that mating behavior can be explained by evolutionary change; preferences for a mate and competition for a mate. Humans never choose mating partners just by coincidence; they tend to use strategies in order to find the most appropriate mate.

    • Word count: 513
  7. Examine the view that the nuclear family did not exist in the U.K before industrialisation (20 marks)

    This led to family sizes shrinking as less emphasis were placed upon the extended kin. Geographical mobility led to people becoming more isolated and independent. Nuclear family members became more focused on one another, thereby becoming more home centred. During industrialisation, specialised agencies took over many of the functions that the family used to perform. For example, before industrialisation, the family was responsible for educating children. After industrialisation however, this function was taken over by the education system which came into place.

    • Word count: 787
  8. Free essay

    Using the information from the items and elsewhere, assess explanations for inequalities in the domestic division of labour.

    During this period, males and females shared domestic and agricultural duties equally. The family was seen as a productive unit where all members were required to work together, despite gender or age. Industrialisation, however, brought about a major change to the family system. During the industrial revolution, women and children were made to work in factories. After Industrialisation, however, education and factory laws were introduced which prohibited women and children from working. This meant that children had to attend school whilst women stayed at home and carried out domestic chores. Males were then left to go out and provide economically for the family. These unequal family roles are known as segregated roles.

    • Word count: 904
  9. Revision notes on family theories by Functionalists, Marxists, Feminists etc.

    It also provides means of relaxing and relaxing from modern living. Men and women have clearly defined, separate roles. Instrumental = men Expressive = women They believe that the family oppresses its members and the nuclear family is an ISA and family legitimises inequality. Supporting capitalism. 1)Althusser-ISA- family, education and religion RSA- police, courts and law which are physical forms of control. 2) Engels- men are bread winners as they oppress women. They are glorified prostitutes in the home used to produce the next work force. Also, believes the main function of the family is the reproduction of the capitalist system.

    • Word count: 890
  10. Examine the ways in which that state policies may affect families and households.

    Other types of families may be 'punished' or discouraged. However the state policy for this is that Harding argues that the best council housing is often allocated to married couples with children and the worst housing on problem estates is allocated to one- parent families. Housing in the UK is overwhelming designed for the nuclear family. This affected families hugely as then they are 'forced' into becoming the nuclear family as this is what society is based upon.

    • Word count: 545
  11. Assess the view that Industrialisation led to the decline of the extended family and the rise of the nuclear family.

    When Industrialisation took over England the extended family were no longer needed as all the functions that they would perform for the family were lost as they were now the States responsibility so this no longer gave a purpose for extended families to stick together. Also as family had to work for others this meant that the economy demanded a more geographically mobile workforce. This then allowed families to become the nuclear family as they had to move around in order to gain a job and moving around with a large family would become very costly or simply the older

    • Word count: 867
  12. Assess the view that the family is patriarchal.

    They saw this as the 'new man'. As a result of these social changes there was a rise in symmetrical families, women could now pursue in a career, geographical mobility and the progression in technology also meant that there were better standards of living. However radical feminist Anne Oakley believed that the unpaid role of the housewife was socially constructed around the time of the Industrial Revolution. With the change from the Domestic to the Factory system men stopped working at home and started leaving home everyday to work in factories.

    • Word count: 751
  13. Outline and Evaluate two theories on the formation of relationships.

    An indirect reward associated with pleasant circumstances could be explained by classical conditioning as well. Finally reinforcement such as a person could be associated with reinforcement for example providing it; these particular people are liked more and again more likely to enter into a relationship. There are certain human needs which affect social behaviour. Some of these are self-esteem (being valued by others), affiliation (seeking approval) and dominancy (decision making for others). There are also limitations to this model. One being in non-western cultures reinforcement doesn't seem to appear to play any significant role in relationship building.

    • Word count: 870
  14. Examine the view that nuclear family did not exist in Britain before industrialisation

    Parsons also believed that with the state taking over some of the family's functions like education, wealth and welfare the extended family wasn't needed and it was easier for them to move away. They could also buy mass produced foods from factories with there new wages. He referred to this process as 'structural differentiation'. This way families didn't have to produce anything but became consumers instead. This meant that families could focus on work, and Parson's view on this was that they could be more effective to the economy.

    • Word count: 962
  15. Outline & Evaluate romantic relationships in different cultures

    Priorities in choice will be social status, family relationships and wealth as opposed to individualistic cultures where priority is given to physical attractiveness, compatibility and love. Divorce rates are extremely high for love marriages, compared to arranged marriages which have lower divorce rate. Moghaddam et al. suggested that this is because there is a greater choice of potential partners. i.e relationships are less permanent than those in non-Western cultures because couples have the choice whether to continue it or not.

    • Word count: 900
  16. Using material from item A and elsewhere assess sociological explanations of changes in status of childhood.

    Earlier centuries like the middle ages didn't regard childhood at all and adults and children were almost at equal with each other; work, clothing and playing. As item A describes 'little distinction was drawn between adults and children'. This is a view taken up by the historian Aries where the child entered the wider society on most the same terms as adults and taking the responsibility of work from a young age. Evidence of this is from Bruegel's painting which illustrate children and men from the 16th century wearing the same clothing and working/playing together.

    • Word count: 920
  17. Summary of Sociologists Studies of the Family in India

    The 'elementary family' is "a group composed of a man,his wife and their children' .It is assumed by many writers on indian family ,as well as by many writers on family in general,that the members of an elementary family always live together in the same household gruop such as a joint or extended family. Modern anthropologists have , however shown that thie need not always be the case.For example , in India itself ,among the Nayars and a few other castes of kerala , the husband resided with the matrilinear kin but not with his own wife and children and would visit them only occasionally.

    • Word count: 928
  18. Britain as a child-centred society

    Item A also emphasises the point that childhood is seen as a separate stage in life. In Medieval Europe, children both looked and were treated like adults. The fact that this no longer occurs in Britain today shows that it has successfully become a child-centred society. Also, children were previously seen as economic assets who contributed towards the income in the household. In areas such as northern Uganda, children are rejected by their families and made to fend for themselves at the age of three. This is a common practise in the Ik tribe. In Britain today, children are seen as incapable of looking after themselves up until they reach the age of thirteen/fourteen.

    • Word count: 667
  19. Lone parent families dysfunctional ?

    These scenarios cause different behavioral aspects on the child's moral attitudes, mentally and socially, let alone all the affects on the parents themselves who most significantly deal with situations such as their income, benefits, employment, housing and day care. Women have tended to have higher expectations towards marriage and are less satisfied (Thornes and Collard 1979), this causes them to access a fast and cheap process of divorce with such act being the 'norm' in society. Other lone parents are widowed (6%), comparing to the 53% divorced.

    • Word count: 620
  20. Examine the different functions performed by the family for individuals and for society

    Setting an example for the younger children is good for the child as an individual as it shows them the norms and values of life, so that when they are older they know the rights and wrongs to fit into society.

    • Word count: 465
  21. Examine the ways in which social policy and laws influence families and household

    But then again this might be a bad thing because in this society they'll be no more perfect nuclear family. Now the divorce law is fair because both sexes can get a divorce now before only the men can divorce. In the UK there is a massive increase on SPFs therefore they would need help with money and work. For example job seeker allowance or child benefits to help with the child care. Getting the funds for the SPFs might be a good thing for example single mum would need help with child care or the daily needs for their children.

    • Word count: 910
  22. Roles in the family - review of the views of major sociologists.

    However, in both classes few men had a high level of participation in housework & childcare. Stephen Edgell & in the British Social Attitudes Survey - more sharing of child rearing than household tasks. Movement towards a more egalitarion household division of labour with time. More households were men did most of the washing & ironing, cooking, cleaning, shopping & washing up. Repairing household equipment -only type of task usually done by men. Mary Boulten-although men help; women retain primary responsibility for children.

    • Word count: 854
  23. Examine Changes in the Patterns in Childbearing and Childrearing in the UK since the 1970s

    In 1991-3, 40% of mothers in lone mother families had never been married compared to only 18% in 1973-5. Over the same period the percentage that was separated or divorced was fairly stable, at 55% in 1991-93 and 61% in 1971-3 (Kiernan et al.1998). Divorce has replaced widowhood as the main cause of lone motherhood. The growth of cohabitation also contributed to the rise: it is estimated that a fifth of cohabiting unions produce children, and about 50% of unions with children break down. Since the war, women have now had the right to vote, opportunities to reach further education and are now being paid to work.

    • Word count: 895
  24. Family

    Social class can be measured through different measurement scales based on occupation and status. When defining someone's social class, there can be issues caused by the variables involved. These are wealth, income, social status and power and are objective measurements. There are measurement scales such as the Registrar General's scale and sociologists are more inclined to use Goldthorpe's model of the British class structure. The NC SEC 2000 scale is the most modern measurement of social class. There have also been changes over the years affecting social class.

  25. Assess the view that marriage and family life benefit men more than they benefit women.

    Feminist's believe in equal rights and legal protection for women. They believe women should not be pressured into staying at home to do housework and childcare by themselves. Instead they should go out and get a job and have a social life just like their husbands. However, functionalists believe in the nuclear family, parents and children, and anything outside of that family are dysfunctional, for example, single parent families, gay couples. In the traditional nuclear families, the roles of husbands and wives are segregated. Parsons' functionalist model of the family sees a clear division of labour between spouses.

    • Word count: 871

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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