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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. Definition of the Family and the increase in Divorce.

    During the eighteenth century particularly in Kerala, India there was a non-existence of the nuclear family. Women were permitted to have sexual relationship with an indefinite number of Nayar men; hence the biological father of the child would be unidentified. The responsibility of the child was taken by the matrilineal group rather than the biological father. This evidently suggests that the nuclear family is, in fact, not universal in society. As Gough conclusively observed that the existence of the Nayar family was undermining Murdock description of the allegedly universal nuclear family, fathers were excluded from residential and social units.

    • Word count: 1059
  2. Gay Marriage - persuasive essay.

    To reiterate into other words, the greatest achievement of marriage is found in the child created by that man and woman. Though one may not believe in Christ or anything to do with religion, the Church is against gay marriage because they believe that men and women were created to produce fertile offspring, a task impossible for gay couples. Most people against gay marriage agree that it can nit and should not be permitted because the female necessitates a dominant male figure to protect her.

    • Word count: 1467
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Free essay

    Assess the functionalist position on the role of the family. (24 Marks)

    Murdock was able to conclude that the best and most common family form was the nuclear family. Functionalist favour the nuclear family and oppose single parent and same sex families. Functionalist believe that one parent cannot possible provide for children the same as two parents can. The new right also back this idea and state that children from single parent families are more likely to end up in crime then children with both parents. They fail, however to see that there are many successful single parent families. It is not fair to say that all children from single parent families will stray towards crime.

    • Word count: 1146
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Examine the view that the positions of men and women in the family have changed in recent years

    They also found that symmetrical families were more popular in younger couples. They suggested that the following reasons for change in women roles e.g. jobs, gender roles in the home. It suggests that new technology has contributed towards this along with geographical mobility. However a problem with this view is when they did there example in Benthal green. There they found that extended family and workmates were more likely to have symmetrical relationship. This is a problem because Benthal green is not representative of a whole society and since the year it was done things may of changed.

    • Word count: 1019
  12. 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
  13. Discuss Evolutionary Explanations of Parental Investment

    is around one hundred times larger than the sperm, and she has a limited supply of these. Her reproductive life is shorter at around 30 years, limiting the total number of offspring she can produce. Following conception, her pre-natal investment continues to be large. She carries the growing foetus around for 40 weeks feeding it from her own supplies of nourishment, which uses thousands of calories. Then she must give birth and continue to invest in the baby. In the distant past this would have involved breastfeeding for at least two years after birth. Therefore her investment in comparison to the males' is substantial and her best chance of reproductive success is to ensure the survival of her few precious offspring.

    • Word count: 1110
  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. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. Assess the view that the Nuclear Family is no longer the norm'' - Functionalism vs. Post Modernism

    This has meant that there are more same sex couples and they now have the chance to adopt. Technology as well as social acceptance has made major advances recently so gay and lesbian couples are able to use IVF treatment. Functionalist sociologists do not believe that same sex couples would educate a child to the same extent as single sex families however studies of same sex families could not see any significant effects un terms of gender identification or sexual orientation. Weeks (1999), a Postmodernist, states that increase social acceptance may explain a trend in recent years towards same sex cohabitation and stable relationships that resemble those founded among heterosexuals.

    • Word count: 1129
  19. Assess the view that the symmetrical family exists in modern day society

    Men and women both go out to work, perhaps just a part time job, and bring in an income. This results in a more equal share in domestic labour and childcare at home. Commercialization of house work has made it much easier and quicker; therefore families spend more leisure time together. New technology and services, such as cleaners, dish washers, microwaves and child minders, have made domestic labour and childcare less of a burden so men and women have far less house work to do at home, making the symmetry between husbands and wives in families in modern day society much more prominent.

    • Word count: 1206
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. The nuclear family is considered the 'ideal'. Why and for whom?

    This is because they view the nuclear family as a positive institution that is extremely beneficial to society by performing core functions such as reproduction, the socialisation of children and economic support by providing food and shelter for it's members - without these essential functions functionalists believe society would be faced with many problems and would not be able to function correctly. In contrast to functionalism, Marxists have a less positive view of the family institution. Marxists believe that the family serves in maintaining class differences and sees society as a conflict between the ruling class and working class where the bourgeoisie exploit the proletariat in order to keep a capitalist society that the bourgeoisie can profit from.

    • Word count: 1664
  24. 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
  25. 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

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