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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. Examine the main trends in births and deaths in the UK since 1900.

    After the Second World War was another baby boom and that was due to the same reasons. In 1964 the rate went up again but the rate then fell back down again in the 70?s. There are many factors that determine what the birth rate is like one of these is TFR (total fertility rate) which is the proportion of women who are of child bearing age this is between 15-44 and also how fertile they are, so TFR is the average number of children a women will have during their child bearing years. Our TFR has risen in 2001 it was 1.63 and it rose to 1.84 in 2006 but this is low when it is compared to the 2.95 that we experienced in 1964.

    • Word count: 1100
  2. Assess the functionalist view that the family is functional for its members and society

    Thus allowing stability as there is individual rules and standards. Parsons argues that the particular structure and functions of a family will ?fit? the needs of society. He claims that when a society changes from a traditional pre-industrial to a modern industrial one the family changes by its structure, from an extended to a nuclear, and it loses many of its functions. The reasons for structural changes are that since the development of easy travel for all a smaller nuclear family is easier and more mobile than an extended. Furthermore tensions and conflicts would emerge if a socially mobile younger generation, achieving higher status than their parents who still lived at home.

    • Word count: 1537
  3. Assess the extent to which the traditional nuclear family is the norm in contemporary British society

    It can also be argued that other family forms can meet the needs of society and individuals. Parsons (1951), an American functionalist, argues that the nuclear family is the norm as is meets the needs of society and provides functions for contemporary capitalism by being geographically mobile. The family unit has two irreducible functions; the primary socialization of the young, involving teaching the norms and values of culture to ensure society remains harmonious and stable, and to ensure the stabilization of the human personality by providing a safe haven, using the analogy of the ?warm bath?.

    • Word count: 1675
  4. Is a successful marriage a utopia today?

    One reason might be a shift in our society towards more self-realization and less responsibility. In my opinion many couples may not detect the enormity of their decision to marry. Before making that decision each partner should think about all consequences a marriage might have on the relationship and all consequences a marriage definitively has when it comes to legal terms. Taking the decision whether or not one wants to marry his or her partner should not be made hasty in a romantic mood or occasional feelings of perfect happiness and love.

    • Word count: 654
  5. 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
  6. Sociology Family Revision Notes

    higher crime rates and educational failure. Views on changes; Lone parents are unnatural and harmful. Cannot discipline their children properly, burden on welfare state, leave boys without male role models resulting in higher rates in delinquency and threatening social stability. Disapprove of mothers going out to work because they believe women should make caring for their family their first priority. They see marriage as the essential basis for creating a stable environment in which to bring up children They regard both cohabitation and divorce as creating family instability by making it easier for adults to avoid commitment and responsibility.

    • Word count: 1823
  7. Examine the view that gender roles and relationships have become more equal in modern family life

    The feminization of the workplace has directed women into the position of better well payed jobs they wouldn?t otherwise have. It has also encouraged men to take more responsibility around the house as Gershuny stated that women working full time is leading to a more equal division of labour and has also resulted in women less financially dependent on men. This is a massive improvement in egalitarianism, however women are now expected to take on a dual burden where they take responsibility for the housework and a job, and this suggests that the roles have become more equal in terms of work but not necessarily in family life as women are still taking control of housework.

    • Word count: 919
  8. Assess the Marxist view on the role of education in society

    This was found by Bowles and Gintis (1970) through their study ?Schooling in capitalist America?. The hidden curriculum is said to teach motivation to pupils by trying to encouraging achieving good grades. This is then used when the pupils leave school as they are motivated to work hard to attain a wage. It also teaches people to accept the hierarchy. It does this by teaching the pupils about authority and power relationships. This then leads to the pupils believing that they should follow the instructions of a person with more authority them such as the police.

    • Word count: 783
  9. Assess the contribution of Functionalism to our understanding of Families and Households.

    Parsons believed in the ?functional fit theory?. Parsons felt that apart from the functions identifies by Murdock, the family have other needs to meet. Parsons view was the functions family perform are depended on the kind of society the family is in. Furthermore, Parsons felt the functions that the family has to perform affected its shape or structure.0 Parsons distinguished between the two kinds of family structure; the nuclear family and the extended family. According to parsons, there are two basic types of society; modern industrial society and pre industrial society.

    • Word count: 712
  10. Sociology Family Unit - Family Concepts and Definitions

    Nuclear and Extended Families There are a number of characteristics that are associated with the nuclear family. They are as follows: It is a small compact structure that is composed of a mother, father and usually two or three children, who are biologically related. It is assumed that the relationship between the adults is heterosexual. The nuclear family is reinforced by marriage; it is assumed that marriage encourages fidelity and therefore family stability. There is a clear division in labour; it is believed that the female role within the family should be primarily concerned with the emotional and nurturing roles of motherhood and housework, and that the male function is to economically provide, to protect the family, and to act as a disciplinary role model for the children.

    • Word count: 1156
  11. Outline and discuss the view that there now exists a range of family types in contemporary society

    Different family types consist of the extended family, the nuclear family, single parent families, and reconstituted families. The extended family used to be seen as the ideal structure but it has now moved to the nuclear family. Parsons (an American functionalist) supports this but does not agree with the transition. He states that in pre-industrial societies the extended family system made it easier to carry out the wide range of functions within the family, but in industrial societies the extended family system is no longer needed as the functions of the extended family have been taken over by specialised agencies i.e.

    • Word count: 1036
  12. Assess the view that marriage is no longer a popular institution in todays postmodernist society

    As a result family life has become more diverse than even the Rapoports recognise. In today?s postmodern society there is no longer one single type of family that is dominant, such as the nuclear family. Some sociologists believe that this greater diversity and choice brings with it both advantages and disadvantages. It gives individuals greater freedom to plot their own life course- to choose the kind of family and personal relationships that meet their needs. However, a greater freedom of choice in relationships means a greater risk of instability, since these relationships are more likely to break up.

    • Word count: 1717
  13. The history of Childhood as a social construction

    It seems inconceivable to us that the protection of innocent children is not a fundamental value in all societies, present and past. But as you will see, childhood is not simply a biological stage of development. Rather it is a social category that emerges from the attitudes, beliefs, and values of particular societies at particular points in time,2 subject to changing definitions and expectations. Parental attachment to children, therefore, is less a function of instinct than a function of how parents in a particular culture or historical era perceive their responsibilities toward their children.

    • Word count: 1803
  14. 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
  15. In what ways are families good for society?

    Children are the focus of responsibility in the husband and wife?s life, they are their main priority! So why exactly is it important to look after children? If parents look after children in the right manner, then their attitudes and behaviour will be shaped in a positive way. It is also obvious that they are too young to possibly look after themselves as they do not have the motor programme in their mind to know exactly how to do that.

    • Word count: 1147
  16. Using the item and your own knowledge, assess the contribution of feminist sociologists to the understanding of family roles and relationships

    Liberal feminists fight for more equality between men and women. This supports the negative view of the family and relationships because there view shows that men and women are unequal. Radical feminists believe that the main rival of women is patriarchy, which guarantees male domination and the control of women at work and in the home. In their view men inflict physical and sexual violence over women. This shows the negative view of the family and relationships. Marxist feminists believe social class affects the life chances of women; it is a key factor in the relationship between men and women.

    • Word count: 556
  17. Outline and evaluate the view that the extended family no longer plays a significant role in family life on Contemporary Britain

    that family structures have changed to nuclear families. Families had an extended structure in the past, however, it was before industrialisation, a family consisted of being a unit of production, and it was also mainly self-sufficient. With industrialisation there was significant change towards nuclear family as functionalists preserve that this was better ?fit? with the changing the needs of society. This shows how families don?t have to be large; back in the days in was large due to the industrialised revolution.

    • Word count: 712
  18. To investigate how the ideology of childhood has changed over the years, I interviewed my granddad who is in his 60s,

    However, no matter how many toys, recent gadgets, new clothes a child is given is it really any consolation to the loss of quality time with their parents? Money does not grow on trees, and in recent years percentage of both parents having to work has increased dramatically, you are far less likely to see a stay at home mum but two working parents that won?t even be home by the time their children get home from school. It is said that children have become more independent?

    • Word count: 1051
  19. Why do functionalists argue society needs nuclear families?

    According to functionalists, family has many functions such as education, economic, emotional support, nurture?etc. To demonstrate this view point, it is useful to consider the educational part of families as it is considered to be the agent of primary socialization.

    • Word count: 422
  20. Describe and discuss the Functionalist perspective in relation to the family.

    Functionalists believe that this division of labour in a domestic setting is beneficial in the family, in wider society, and beneficial to men and women themselves. They see the family as positive for society. Functionalists believe that the nuclear family is a positive group that is beneficial to society - they look at the functions that the nuclear family performs for the good of society as a whole. These functions include: 1. Reproduction - the family has a child/ren which means the human race continues.

    • Word count: 1324
  21. Examine the reasons for the changes in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last 30 years.

    Although 95.1% of British women still marry before they are 49, it has become more acceptable to choose not to get married, and rather than being looked down on, single women are more likely to be viewed as strong, focussed, and independent. This means there is less pressure on couples to marry quickly, and so has also affected the rise in cohabitation. Society no longer views marriage as the only definition of a serious relationship, and this has given credibility to couples choosing to cohabit instead.

    • Word count: 1682
  22. Examine the ways in which childhood can be socially constructed

    This separateness is emphasised in many different ways, for example, there are laws which regulate what children can or can?t do. Related to the idea of separateness of children?s status is the idea of childhood as a ?golden age? of happiness and innocence. However, this innocence means that children are seen as vulnerable and in need of protection from dangers of the adult world and so they must be kept quarantined and separated from it. As a result, children?s lives are lived largely in the sphere of the family and education, where adults provide for them from and protect them from the outside world.

    • Word count: 775
  23. Assess the view that the growth of family diversity has led to the decline of the traditional nuclear family.

    From the New Right perspective, these changes are the cause of many social problems in Britain today. Seeing as in today?s society there is plenty of access to contraception, married couples/couples in general are not having children for various reasons which has led to the decline of the traditional nuclear family, also known as the ?Cereal packet family?. There has been an increase in marriage of 9.2% between 2006 and 2011. Murdock argued on the basis of his studies that the nuclear family was a universal social institution and that it existed universally because it fulfilled four basic functions for society: the sexual, reproductive, economic and education functions.

    • Word count: 840
  24. Assess sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today

    The last type of family diversity is generational diversity; older and younger generations have different attitudes and experiences that reflect the historical periods in which they have lived. For example, they may have different views about the morality of divorce or cohabitation. Modernist approaches to the family such as functionalism and the New Right emphasise the dominance of the nuclear family type in modern society. These approaches take a structural or top down view; they see the family as a structure that shapes the behaviour of its members so that they perform the functions society requires.

    • Word count: 1364
  25. Using materials from Item A and elsewhere assess the contribution to our understanding of functionalism on families and the household.

    They both believe that all people benefit from a family and that the family performs three vital functions. The first is primary socialisation, where children learn basic values, norms and roles (consensus). The second is stabilisation of adult personalities (warm bath theory), whereby adults should receive emotional support and relief from the outside world. Yet this ideological theory that men come home to a relaxing environment is out dated and no longer relevant to today?s society due to women working now. Finally the last vital function is the control of sexual behaviour and reproduction. Murdock argued on the basis of his studies that the nuclear family was a universal social institution and that it existed universally because it fulfilled four basic functions for society: the sexual, reproductive, economic and education functions.

    • Word count: 987

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