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Using material from Item 2b and elsewhere, assess the views that the nuclear family is no longer the norm

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´╗┐Using material from Item 2b and elsewhere, assess the views that the nuclear family is no longer the norm The nuclear family consists of two generations living together, all related by blood or law. Oakley calls this the conventional family, because he believes it is universal and works effectively as part of a community. Leach calls this the ?cereal packet family? which is advertised to us as the perfect family, where everyone is valued. Despite this one structure of family being seen as the norm since the 70s, society today appears to moving towards a more diverse variety of family structures. On the other hand, about 20% of households in the UK still fit this structure, it may no longer be the majority but many people still value it as the norm in society. It is also the most desirable family structure. This view is supported by both the Functionalists and New Right. Parsons, a functionalist, believed that the expressive female and instrumental male roles in the family work as a team. This sexual division in the family present the woman as the child-rearer and the man as the breadwinner. This can be positive in the way that it provides an effective team that keeps the household secure, and in that the parents of the family only have to take on one respective role. ...read more.


However New Right would say that this support from the state is often misused by people in lone-parent families, Charles Murray argues that these families form an underclass of society. After the rise in lone-parent families in the 80s they were blamed as causing within society like youth crime (e.g London Riots), educational underachievement and teenage pregnancy. They say that this is because of lone-parent families providing poor discipline in the home and poor socialisation, for instance the lack of male role models. New Right say that the nuclear family is more desirable because it provides a child with all these things i.e stronger discipline and better socialisation. However according to the Rapoports the conventional family no longer makes up the majority, in fact 35% are couple only households and 10% are lone parent households. This change has occurred due to a number of factors. Allan and Crow identify how a growing trend of diversity has arisen from a changes in marriage and divorce patterns. They say that people now follow an unpredictable pattern of cohabitaion, marriage, divorce, periods living alone and re-marriage. There are now so many different family forms and relationships that has led to different family forms e.g reconstituted family and shared households. People are now living longer, thanks to a number of advances in health services. These demographic changes also shape the family structure that we live in today. ...read more.


A rise in immigration has led to more ethnic diversity. And this has led to a change in family structures because these different ethnic groups have different lifestyles. For instance, Ballard claims that South Asian families live in patriarchal nuclear families where marriage is highly valued. However in Britain these families adapt and conform to the culture with women finding work outside the home and families being split into smaller domestic groups. Furthermore, Driver has found that west Indian families in Britain may appear to be nuclear, but are in fact mother-centred. In these families the man has no role, no job and no work to do inside the home. Bertoud found that Afro-Caribbean women were choosing to raise their children without a husband, they saw Afro-Caribbean men as an unreliable source of income. A general rise in secularisation can also effect the diversity of family structures. This decline in the religious significance on society can lead to more children outside of marriage, an increase in same sex families and an increase on divorce as marriage loses its value, which of course leads to a rise in lone parent-hood. Life Course Whilst diversity in family structure is evident, the nuclear family still exists and is seen by the government as the most desirable and acceptable. Chester says the family has adapted to become neo-conventional. Sommerville-item Supported by Chester. Kelda Leevers 12A ...read more.

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