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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.

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  1. Sociological Explanations For The Increase In Divorce Rate

    Having a divorce will no longer affect your career, as it would have done so in the past. So people today are more likely to get a divorce out of an unhappy relationship, or carry on in an empty shell marriage. Secondly, secularisation, people are less religious today, so they do not pay as much attention to the religious consequences. Marriage, perhaps, is seen as a less sacred ritual now and is more of a personal commitment rather than a religious one. Today only around 45% of marriages today happen in a religious environment and the church do not view divorce as seriously as they used to.

    • Word count: 653
  2. Assess The Ways In Which Social Policies And Laws Affect Family Life

    These changes in social policies have enabled gay families to live a happy and equal life. The gay community have fought, even physically in riots, the Stonewall riots of 1969 for an example, for these rights for over fifty years and these changes have now put this to rest. The United Kingdom is part of the European Union within their directives and legislations there is "The Social Chapter" this refers to parts of the treaty which deal with the equal treatment of men and women and the regulation of working time under the Working Time Directive.

    • Word count: 958
  3. Examine the view that nuclear families didnt exist in the UK before the industrial revolution

    Parsons decided that only the nuclear family could provide the necessary structure needed to aid the working life. Moreover, the functionalists Wilmot and Young found that, during pre-industrial times there was a mainly agricultural society, so the most common type of family structure was that of a classic extended family. Wilmott and Young also found that the family type became nuclear during the industrial revolution. This was because as industry progressed, people moved away from their families to find work, so the family decreased in size and became nuclear, this was known as the theory of functional fit.

    • Word count: 559
  4. There are many factors why family and household patterns have become more diverse in the United Kingdom since the end of the Second World War;

    In 1961, approximately two people divorced per every thousand people in the UK, in 1987, this figure rose to approximately 12 per thousand. It has also become cheaper to become divorce on average around �13000 per divorce. Divorce has now become more socially acceptable. Divorce used to carry a "stigma," 'People these days are far less likely to put up with empty shell marriages (Fulcher, J & Scott, J (1999).)' Remarriages rose by about a third between 1971 and 1972, following the introduction of the Divorce Reform Act 1969 in England and Wales, and then levelled off.

    • Word count: 744
  5. Assess the view that marriage remains a patriarchal instituation

    In 1973 Young and Willmott claimed that the division of labour within the home was becoming less segregated. This means that household tasks would be shared out more equally and that the roles of the husband and wife would be more integrated. There are various explanations for this, including women being less financially dependent upon their husbands due to employment; improved rights of women and their status in society and better standards of living encouraging men to spend more time in the home with their families. Research proves that men do more domestic work now than previously, namely Gershunny and Laurie's study which showed that hubands have taken on more domestic labour now women work.

    • Word count: 890
  6. Assess the view that working class underachievement in education is the result of home circumstances and family background.

    Peter Laslett concluded that kinship based families and the classic extended family were the only two possible forms of pre-industrial families. He also found that from the mid 1500's to 1800's, only 10% of households contained kin beyond the nuclear family. He believed that due to short life expectancies and people marrying later in life, the gap between the death of a parent and the marriage of their children was short and meant that diverse family types did not exist.

    • Word count: 893
  7. Examine The Criticisms Of The View That The Increase in Divorce Is Due To Easy Availability

    Divorce is too expensive so people just choose to live separate rather than signing the divorce petition. Eg. A couple that want a divorce can't financially afford one therefore they choose to live separate. This helps financially divorced couples to go their own ways and provide financially for their children even if this means not legally getting divorced. It is much cheaper to do it this way and saves the couple from tensions arising from the money matters of divorce a reason for this, Thrones and Collard's 1979 view that women expect far more from marriage than men and in particular they value friendship and emotional gratification more than men do.

    • Word count: 983
  8. Marx and functionalist role of education

    This system lets 'social mobility' happen, this is when there is movement between the social classes. The Functionalist sociologist Parsons (1950s) sees school as an important unit of secondary socialisation, taking over from the family as children grow older. He argues schools provide a bridge between the 'particularistic' values, (this is when children are treated as special individuals, and judged differently by every one else outside of the family.) and the 'universalistic' values where the same rules apply to everyone.

    • Word count: 874
  9. Using material from Item B and elsewhere assess the view that it no longer makes sense to talk about the Patriarchal family(TM).

    However now in 21st century the amount of time parents spend with their children has more than doubled since the 1960s and children's welfare is seen as the major family priority. Feminists claim that families are essentially Patriarchal (dominated by men). Several sociologists have looked at how and by whom decisions are made in families. Sociologists such as Stephen Edgell in 1980 carried out a study in which he found that wives dominated decision making in interior decoration, children's clothes and spending on food.

    • Word count: 971
  10. Examine some of the reasons for the growth of NRM(TM)s and why some people argue that traditional churches and denominations no longer meet people(TM)s needs.

    Nowadays people tend to focus more on industry and making money for themselves instead playing a big part in one community. Being part of an NRM is now more socially acceptable and people can relax more and live their own lives freely. Marginalisation has also encouraged the growth of NRM's. Weber argues that NRM's appeal to people outside mainstream society because they feel they have been denied the economic rewards they deserve; it gives these people a sense of well being.

    • Word count: 902
  11. Life-chances , of life expectancy for women, Patters of differing life chances for men and women in British society

    and class struggle is a motor of history. He also stated that class relationships are grounded in misuse (exploitation). Additionally, occupation has a vital role to play in people's lives. It is seen as the major source of wealth and incomes for the majority of the population. A man's occupation generally determines the amount of capital he will have. It has been stated that education is closely related to income. Education is also closely linked with occupation; therefore many differences have been found in the lifetime earnings of people with none, little, some and great education. if a child can stay in education long enough, he increases the life chances for himself and his family.

    • Word count: 908
  12. Evaluate the contribution of Marxist thought and understanding of the development of the family

    Engle's saw the development of the monogamous nuclear family as reflecting the needs of male property owners to ensure that their private property was being passed onto the heirs, and the monogamous nuclear family provided tight control on women since they could only be married to one person at a time so this eliminates the possibility of more wife's and making it difficult to decide which ones kids get the inheritance. However there is some room for criticism towards Engel's since his work is based on assumptions he has never seen a woman from the pre industrial age in his life so he can't make sounds judgements upon it.

    • Word count: 819
  13. Domestic Violence

    The women interviewed had left their abusive partners and had gone to a refuge. Dobash and Dobash argue that marriage legitimates violence against women by granting power and authority on husbands and dependency on wives. The findings from this research are that women do not report most incidents out of fear. Radical feminists interpret findings such as those from Dobash and Dobash as evidence of society being patriarchal and will only stop when women become more equal. Some men are victims of domestic violence from their wives, but these men are more unwilling to report attacks than women because of embarrassment and fear their reports will not be taken seriously.

    • Word count: 908
  14. Explain the relationship between family structure and industrialisation

    So when industrialisation occurred and people began moving to the city, Parsons saw this as meaning that the families' structure changed to an isolated nuclear family because people moved away from their extended family and out into the city for factory work. This meant that the family lost functions as specialised institutions were introduced such as the welfare state and education system. Parsons calls this structural differentiation, claiming that this meant that the modern nuclear family only had two functions left; these are primary socialisation, and the stabilising of adult personalities.

    • Word count: 935
  15. 'Examine the sociological view that home factors are the key in explaining working class underachievement.'

    Sociologists have also criticised the IQ test itself, saying that the tests are culturally biased. A number of sociologists imply that processes inside school such as labelling, streaming and subcultures are the key to explaining working class underachievement. It is shown that teachers tend to label their students, and there appears to be a pattern of negatively labelling students from working class backgrounds (E.g., labelling a student as unintelligent and thus will fail exams) and a given label often leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy (A student who has been labelled as a failure will then go on to live up to that label, such as failing their exams).

    • Word count: 953
  16. Social control of women

    Nuns are stereotypically viewed as being sexually repressed women who transfer their sexual libidos into their religious beliefs. On the other hand becoming a nun can been seen as an act of protection from sexual gratification experienced by women in modern western societies. Holm and Bowker go as far as to suggest that religious organisations specially designed for women are the future. Modern Women's movement will separate the two genders and therefore remove oppression, while also enhancing a woman's sense of identity. Inequality can be seen in many major, mainstream religions such as Christianity, the Bible states that God created men in "the image and glory of God", whilst women were made for "the glory of men".

    • Word count: 804
  17. Assess the view that cults and sects inevitably turn into denominations and churches

    They simply ask that people be open to the experiences they offer. According to Roland Robinson (1970) the key difference between cults and sects is as follows. Sects believe they have a monopoly of the truth, while cults believe their teachings are just one of many paths of the truth. Cults are more tolerant of the beliefs of others and of the behaviour of their members. Roy Wallis (1974) developed this distinction between sects and cults. Where sects are exclusive, closed, tightly knit organizations, cults are more loosely organized and open to the outside world.

    • Word count: 974
  18. Critically examine the relationship between gender, religious participation and religious organisations

    These patterns appear to hold true throughout life, irrespective of the type of religious organisation or religious belief. Miller and Hoffmann believe that females have a lower rate of participation in paid work and this, it is argued, gives women more time for church related activities, and more need for a source of personal identity and commitment. They also have higher rates of participation in child-rearing which also increases religiosity because it coincides with a concern for family well-being. Greeley (1992)

    • Word count: 855
  19. Family and Household

    From personal perspectives I feel that within my own home women take on the burden of domestic labour. As I am from a Muslim background, I am intrigued to discover whether this patriarchal ideology is predominating within other sections of society. Context and concept My first context feminist sociologists Delphy and Leonard argue 'the family is a patriarchal institution' through which men dominate and exploit women. They admit that most men do some housework, but women usually undertake such tasks due to the media's portrayal of the ideal wife and mother.

    • Word count: 579
  20. Victoria Climbie

    Haringey social worker, Lisa Arthurworrey and PC Karen Jones are assigned to case. They cancel home visit after hearing scabies story. July 24th, back at the hospital with scalding to her head and face. Doctors immediately suspects it's deliberate but Kouao tell Pc Jones and Arthurworrey that she did but to stop her itching the scabies sores. August 6th Victoria is discharged - authorities believe Kouao's excuses and Victoria returns home with Kouao and Manning. October-January 2000 Manning forces Victoria to sleep in a bin liner in the bath every night. November 1999, Kouao tells police that Manning has sexually abused Victoria.

    • Word count: 857
  21. Asses the roles and functions of the family according to the functionalist perspective.

    "The family is a social group characterized by the common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. It includes 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" Murdock (1949). Functionalist George Murdock's definition of the family basically represents the nuclear family. He argues that the family performs 4 functions. Stabilize adult sexual needs, reproductive functions, economic functions, and providing primary socialization of children.

    • Word count: 998
  22. Examine the patterns of, and reasons for, domestic violence in society

    Also Duncombe and Marsden believe that women are expected not only to do a double shift of both housework and paid work, but also to work a triple shift that includes emotion work. This can build stress for women doing the extra work and a lot of work in the house so it can cause conflict and leading to domestic violence when with a violent partner. In addition to the housework, men are scared of the women's independence and how the women are able to leave due to they have paid work and have money so they control the women, hoping that they will not leave due to they will be scared.

    • Word count: 971
  23. Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today (24 marks)

    Life course diversity, as different stages in the life cycle will generate different patterns of structure e.g. newly weds have a different structure and life style to those with children. Cohort diversity refers to specific times in the past which could have had an effect on the family structure, e.g. unemployment in the 1980's would have led to a smaller family structure. Eversley and Bonnerjea (E and B) identified six types of regional diversity. The 'sunbelt' - the affluent south with higher class two parent families.

    • Word count: 807
  24. Examine the patterns of, and reasons for, domestic violence in society.

    Dobash and Dobash found that violent incidents tended to be set off when a man thought that the woman has challenged his authority e.g. asking why they were late for a meal. They argue that marriage legitimates violence against women by conferring power and authority on husbands and dependency on wives. Radical feminists e.g. Kate Millett and Shulamith Firestone argue that this is a sign of patriarchy. They believe that widespread domestic violence is a inevitable feature of a patriarchal society and serves to preserve the power that men have over all women.

    • Word count: 815
  25. Teenage Pregnancies in Britain

    The moral messages involved in having children outside of a safe environment aren't as well reinforced either. The idea that a baby isn't just for a couple of days isn't made clear in sex education, or by the immediate family. Nor is it made obvious, that when you cannot support yourself in the world, then you are not going to be able to look after a child, and that is abuse to the youngster not to the young person. There is also the difficulty and embarrassment involved in getting hold of contraception in Britain, which may contribute to the high Teenage Pregnancy rate.

    • Word count: 921

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