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Outline and discuss the view that there now exists a range of family types in contemporary society

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Introduction

´╗┐Sociology Richard / Mr Chacha Emma Rudd BMA 29th January Sociology Essay ? Diversity within the Family ?Outline and discuss the view that there now exists a range of family types in contemporary society? There are many different types and definitions of the family. It is suggested that a family is a group of people related usually through blood, marriage or other legal ties (i.e. adoption) but this is not always the case. It is a group of people who support each other and at some point in their lives tend to have lived in the same household. Sociologists do not agree on a definition of the family, although definitions can usually be split into two categories exclusive and inclusive definitions. Exclusive definitions focus on the specific relationships within the unit e.g. marriage. Where as inclusive definitions focus on the functions of the unit e.g. supporting one another. What is seen as an ideal family structure has changed over time, to match social change and a change in people?s attitudes. Different family types consist of the extended family, the nuclear family, single parent families, and reconstituted families. ...read more.

Middle

Over the same time period for unmarried men under the age of 60 it has gone from 11% to 26%. Although it has been argued that for most people cohabitation is apart of the marriage process and is not a substitute. Cohabiting has now become more socially acceptable so people can live together without ever getting married and it is also considered ok to raise children in this arrangement. The New Right criticise cohabitation by saying that it is less stable than a marriage and therefore not the ideal arrangement for a family institution. Not only have cohabitation households increased, so have single person households. One reason behind the increase may be due to the increase in divorce rates and the fact that people are choosing to get married later in life. Peter Stein interviewed single individuals in the age range of 25-45. They recognised that being single allowed them to concentrate on their career and its opportunities and promoted overall freedom and independence. Although they occasionally felt isolated and lonely. Reconstituted families / step-families have also increased; this may also be a result of increasing divorce rates. ...read more.

Conclusion

70% of single mothers live in rented accommodation, which is likely to be in unpopular areas, and 40% of homeless people living in bed and breakfasts are single mothers. New Right thinkers disapprove of single parent families and they link children?s educational underachievement and delinquency to them being a part of a single parent family. The New Right have been criticised as they tend to ignore factors such as domestic violence in relationships and also the fact that most single parent families raise their children successfully. Feminists sociologists argue that the real problem comes from the nuclear family itself, they state that this leads to the negative labelling of one-parent families from teachers, social workers, housing departments, and police. It is argued that single parents / families may be being used as scapegoats for inner-city crime and educational underachievement which are actually the result of factors such as unemployment and poverty. There are many different types of family structures and they are constantly changing, some may believe one type is better than another but there is no evidence that proves entirely that there is a particular family type that is better. Each structure / type has its advantages and disadvantages. ...read more.

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