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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.

  1. 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
  2. Examine the contribution of feminist perspectives to an understanding of the family.

    They want women and men to have equal job oppotunities, for example, women can become doctors. They believe that women's oppression is being gradually overcome through changing people's attitudes and through changes in the law such as the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975, which forbids discrimination in employment. Also, liberal feminists believe we are moving towards greater equality, but that full equality will depend on further reforms and changes in the attitudes and socialisation patterns of both sexes. In terms of the family, Liberal feminists hold similar views to 'march of progress' theoriests such as Young and Willmott.

    • Word count: 2095
  3. Assess the view that gender roles and relationships have become more equal in modern family life.

    These are mentioned in item 2B, for example Gershuny. in the 19th century, the Victorian family was very patriarchal. For example, a woman's property became her husband's. Similarly, grounds for divorce were very unequal, a man oculd gain a divorce on the grounds of his wife's adultery, but a woman had to prove her husband's cruelty or another 'matrimonial offence' in addition to adultery. Nowadays, things have chnaged and generally gender roles and relationships have become more equal. There are many aspects of families that have changed considerably such as the domestic division of labour and domestic violence.

    • Word count: 2254
  4. Examine the reasons for the changes in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last 30 years

    To accentuate this, in the early 1970's, approximately 67% of British women in their late twenties were in wedlock with at least one child; this percentage dropped to 33% by the mid 1990's. The British Social Attitudes Survey performed in 1998, came to the conclusion that, only 8% of the individuals interviewed actually thought that having a 'sexual relationship' outside of marriage was 'always wrong' (Sociology REVIEW). The most common form of marriage within the United Kingdom is that of 'Monogamy' and this being established by law as an individual being in wedlock with either one spouse or husband at one given moment.

    • Word count: 2635
  5. Discuss the view that the modern family is becoming more diverse

    Murdock defined the family as 'a social group characterised by 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' (1949). Murdock saw the nuclear family as the core with other modes of family branching from that, for example, the extended family where grandparents or other close relatives live in the same household or nearby. However, Kathleen Gough(1959) documented that in the Nayar society, girls before puberty were ritually married to a suitable Nayar man in the tali rite, and however once after the marriage the tali husband is under no obligation to live with his wife or to have any contact with her.

    • Word count: 2196
  6. Is the modern family breaking down or is it simply changing?

    Also, some single individuals shown in the data were once in nuclear families with children, which ended through either divorce or death, and the children had become dependant therefore moving away from home. The diversity of family and household types is contributed by the diversity in ethnic minority cultures. Roger Ballard published a book in 1982 titled 'South Asian Families', in which he studied Punjabi, Gujrati and Bangali families in England. His study found that the families were extended and highly patriarchal where all the family contributed to the domestic and wage earning tasks although it was clear that men and women's duties were greatly differentiated.

    • Word count: 2330
  7. Discuss the view that the modern family is becoming more diverse

    Over the last several decades Britain has observed alterations to family kinship and the way it has dramatically changed that would have been unheard of in earlier generations. From feminists to Marxists, everyone has some form of opinion, criticism and argument about what the role of the family has to play in society and what the family consists of. In today's society, there are many different forms of families, as mentioned above, there is the nuclear family that was seen as a positive conform to the requirement of the modern society.

    • Word count: 2445
  8. Sociology The Family

    Not only does the family support the individual through childhood but for most of adult life. However it is the first few years of life that are important as sociologists argue that this is when an individual's personality is developed. Although the family has the role of passing on social skills and knowledge in childhood, specialist social institutions outside the family, such as schools and colleges, provide an individual with the necessary skills to co-ordinate their adult roles. We can say that the family performs important basic functions. The functionalist theory is supported by studies such as Parson's "Social Structure of the Family" in which Parson's describes the family becoming increasingly specialized in industrial societies and concentrating on a few important functions.

    • Word count: 2082
  9. Arranged marriages

    The place of man, as father of the family is more under-valued because the family no longer plays a traditional role in the society. Wives have more and more contact with the outside world, resulting a loss of identity and in a decline of traditional values, as more people leave their home countries they lose their strong culture standards. According to Islamic and some Arab traditions, the parents consider that a girl can be a socially-accomplished woman only if she is married, and she has a child by her mid 20s.arrangend marriages are not related to Islamic religion, but from tradional customs that families have inherited from generation to generation continually.

    • Word count: 2093
  10. According to the functionalist sociologist the family is key institution of society, as it performs vital functions for the maintenance of society

    The first function is the sexual function, meaning that sex outside of marriage is limited in some way, which stabilises the society and can prevent conflict. Secondly, the family fulfils the reproductive function, as it is the main context for children to born and brought up. This is vital for society to continue. The family also fulfils an economic function, either as production or consumption. The final function fulfilled by the family according to Murdock is education, where it is vital for children to be taught the norms and values of the society in which they live, therefore it is important that these are taught to keep the value of the society functioning properly and to avoid conflicts.

    • Word count: 2042
  11. Sociology and the Family

    Migration to the cities ensued with the public working for longer hours and smaller wages in the factories. Specialised agencies were established, fulfilling the regular functions of the family. Whereas local churches previously provided education, city schools were now offering such services. No longer did the family fully socialise children. Furthermore, handouts and financial funding became available, leading to less reliance on kin. With the elderly too old to relocate, family resources became sparse ? forcing the whole family into work. Geographical mobility paired with laborious work resulted in less contact between kin, thus the divergence from the extended family and the emergence of the nuclear family.

    • Word count: 2560
  12. Analyse how the family structure has changed over the last 100 years

    home and cook and clean and complete their tasks as a house wife and then also provide emotional support for their family so therefore seen as a theoropist too. This idea was brought about by a sociologist called Benson, increasingly more women are rejecting this stereotype and are expecting more equality from their marriage, this also shows that the impact of feminism has had a affect on divorce rates as women are becoming more financially stable and dont need a husband to support them.

    • Word count: 2882
  13. Gender roles/expectations that exists in contemporary Japanese society

    Young people, travelling abroad and then coming back to Japan begin to be more flexible and more elastic in this strict Asian country. They bring new waves, new feelings and new experiences, so it is natural, that little change towards the equality between man and woman is coming also. Then the old generation is less flexible than young Japanese people ? attitudes are changing, but their behaviour is not. Nowadays, we can see optimistic alterations, for example, some sociologists claim that with the rising problems faced by the Japanese economy, there have been changes in the structured patterns of gender in both the family and the workplace.

    • Word count: 2578

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