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The Sociology of Family

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January 2010 Ninn Goldsworthy Sociology of Family Defining family in Britain is problematic as until the 1960's few sociologists questioned the importance or the benefits of the family. It was assumed that the family was evolving with the changes in Britain. From the 1960's, with increasing divorce rates, living together before marriage, single parent families and one person households family traditionally seen as nuclear (based on 2 adults and children) became harder to define. Sociologists have concluded that family has become harder to define in the more traditional sense. Families of the same blood line that lived together in communities has become rare due to divorce, separation, unknown parentage and moving around the country for various reasons. A family can now consist of any group of people living together and/or bringing up children. This could separate due to divorce etc and another family created through remarriage or co habitation, with the introduction of step children or children born to the new parentage resulting in another family unit although the first one still technically exists. ...read more.


A Patrilineal group is a descent group that traces its ancestry to a single male ancestor. Common form of patrilineal documentations is through genealogy. The tracing of ancestors through the female blood line is called matrilineal. A theory that the nuclear family is perceived to be the most ideal family in Britain is because a family consisting of two parents are normally more supportive than one. They provide a more secure and supportive environment with perspectives from both a male and female role model. A nuclear family helps society by reproduction through sexual activity therefore continuing the human race. This benefits society by carrying on the family values, both written and unwritten, and teaching the children the roles to which they are expected to fulfil. It also regulates sexual activity and keeps jealousy and conflict to a minimum as it is perceived that the norm for sex is within permanent relationships. Another example for the nuclear family is status and identity. By having two parents and a 'stable' home life it is perceived that children grow to be more stable adults, excel at education and stay on the correct side of the law. ...read more.


Often they bring their children from a previous marriage or relationship with them in to the new marriage/relationship or the children stay for short periods such as weekends or holidays, but functioning as a family unit all the same These families are often made from lone parent families or straight from a nuclear family in the matter of extra marital activities. In addition to step children and parents you also get the step grandparents and other family members making a new larger family unit similar to that of the classic extended family. One last example of families other than the nuclear family is the modified extended family. These families may be a close family theoretically but geographically they live many miles apart or even on different continents. The families stay close and in contact through letters, phone calls, emails and visits. With the advent of better internet connections, and communication tools, the use of real time web cam video is a bonus for seeing the new born grandchild straight away! It has been recognised that this is the most common type of family in Britain at this time. Families move for a variety of reasons from work allocation through to separation and divorce. ...read more.

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