• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Sociology Family Unit - Family Concepts and Definitions

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Emma Rudd BMA 26th November Sociology ? Family Unit - Family Concepts and Definitions What is the Family? The majority of the world?s population experience a form of family; this can involve a wide variety of options. For example, in the Toda culture in India a woman may be simultaneously married to several men at the same time. In the Netherlands gay couples can marry, in Bali twins can marry, as it is believed that twins have already been intimate in the womb, in the Banaro culture of New Guinea the husband is forbidden to have sex with his wife until she has born a child by another man chosen specifically for this purpose. In Western culture the nuclear family (both parents and children) is seen as the natural / desirable way to live. This is known as the dominant ideology. Even though there are diverse types of families in Western culture the nuclear family is seen as the ?best?. Nuclear and Extended Families There are a number of characteristics that are associated with the nuclear family. ...read more.


For example some people live on their own so this would be a single household, another example might be students or young people who are unrelated but share a flat this is called a house share. Lawson and Garrod (1996) said, ?most families live in households, but not all households are families.? The Cereal Packet Family A popular image of the family in Britain in the late twentieth century has been described as the cereal packet family. The image is often promoted in advertising, with ?family sized? breakfast cereals, toothpaste and other consumer goods. The ?happy family? image gives the impression that most people live in a typical family and these images reinforce the dominant ideology of the traditional nuclear family. Is There a Typical Family Type? There is no longer a typical type in Britain as: 39% live in a nuclear family, although parents may be unmarried or re married. A single parent heads 25% of families with dependent children. 3% are headed by a teenager 29% of households consist of people living alone. Functionalists Roles of the Family ? Parsons The Functionalists sociologist Parsons sees two main functions of the family these are: The ...read more.


Functional Differentiation Functional differentiation shows the difference between the roles of families before and after the industrial revolution. For example pre-industrial the role of looking after the elderly and sick belonged to the family unit, but in industrial societies the responsibility goes to the specialised agencies such as hospitals and social services. Criticisms of the Functionalists Functionalist?s theories tend to focus on the positive functions of the family and give little consideration to its disadvantages. I.e. Feminists emphasise the male dominated nature of the traditional family. Functionalists assume that the family is of equal benefit to everyone. But Marxists argue that society is shaped by the needs of the capitalist economy and that the family exists to serve these needs rather than those of its members. Functionalists fail to consider the viability of alternatives to the family Many functionalists, particularly Parsons, do not consider the diversity of family types. Even within one society, there are variations based on class, region, ethnicity, religion etc. Interpretive sociologists argue that functionalists concentrate too much on the importance of the family for society and ignore the meaning family life has for individuals. BUT even those who criticise the family admit its social importance. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Family & Marriage section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Family & Marriage essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critically examine the Functionalist idea that the nuclear family exists for the benefit of ...

    5 star(s)

    Parsons argued that nuclear families were formed as people moved away from their extended kin in the countryside in order to take jobs opportunities brought about by industrialization in the towns. Parsons concluded that only the nuclear unit could effectively provide the achievement-orientated and geographically mobile workforce required by modern industrial economies.

  2. Sociology The Family

    Primary socialization looks at the socialization during the early years of childhood which takes place within the family. There are two processes involved with primary socialization. These are the internalization of society's culture and the structuring of the personality. Parson's states that unless culture is internalized or absorbed and accepted then society would not exist.

  1. How cultural deprivation affects the educational attainment of students.

    Evaluation My research shows that cultural deprivation is a major factor that will affect educational attainment of students. For students to be successful and to make educational progress they will require certain characteristics that will suit the education system. Cultural factors will help to explain why there is a large gap between the attainment of Indian and African Caribbean students.

  2. The Sociology of Family

    Defining socially approved sex would be a bit difficult as the differences between cultures and religious beliefs would make it harder to define socially acceptable. Two adults may live together as a family without having children and have independent finances other than the sharing of the mortgage/rent.

  1. Sociology Family Revision Notes

    cohabit rather that marriage. ?Pure relationships?- exists solely to meet each partners needs and is likely to continue only so long in doing so. Couples stay together for love, happiness or sexual attraction, rather than because of tradition, a sense of duty or for the sake of children.

  2. Is the nuclear family in decline?

    systematic breakdown of all the connections and restraints that creates a civilised society,,,,,,,above all, the principal cause is the dismemberment of the traditional family?. Thus from the above it could be said that the spread of crime in society is as a result of the breakdown in the nuclear family,

  1. Sociology Research Paper - To examine how teenage pregnancy affects the teen mothers health ...

    While 66% of them believed that they cannot achieve their goals after pregnancy because all their dreams and hope were crushed by pregnancy. This shows that these teens were merely under stress emotionally, these teenagers did not receive enough emotional or financial help therefore they were not motivated enough to believe they could still have a dream.

  2. Sociology and the Family

    American anthropologist George Peter Murdock considers the nuclear family to be ideal. Murdock (1949) defined the family as follows: The family is a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship,

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work