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

Using sociological theories, e xplain why the modern british family is characterised by diversity

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Using sociological theories and evidence discuss why the contemporary British family is characterized by diversity. In order to discuss the characteristics and diversity of the British family, I must first be sure to fully understand the meaning of the word 'family'. Most text books define the family as a group of people who are related to each other by blood, marriage or adoption, who may share common residence and have ties to each other involving duties, obligations and responsibilities. The oxford dictionary defines the word family to be: 'A group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit. 2 a group of people related by blood or marriage. 3 the children of a person or couple. 4 all the descendants of a common ancestor. 5 all the languages derived from a particular early language. 6 a group united by a significant shared characteristic.' Even within Britain we can see several different types of family. The nuclear family, two parents and dependent children living independently of other family members. The classic extended family- parents children and grandparents. The modified extended family- a nuclear family maintaining close contact with other family members, Lone parent family-parents living separately, on their own with children. ...read more.

Middle

Contemporary Britain is a multi cultural society, and there are some significant differences in the families of ethnic minorities. Although a large group of individuals classed as ethnic minorities will have been born in the UK, they will likely be influenced by their older family members. People coming to live in Britain from other countries have helped create greater diversity in the family. Sociologists attempt to explain why changes happen in society. Rhona and Robert Rapoport were the first contemporary British sociologists to seriously challenge the idea that we have a dominant family type. Their research showed that only 22% of households match the classic nuclear structure. They identified five different types of diversity in contemporary Britain, organizational, cultural, class, life course, and cohort. Chester's ("The Rise of the Neo-conventional Family", 1985) argues that although we can identify a range of apparently non-nuclear family forms we should be careful about how we label this in terms of diversity for two reasons. The majority of people in Britain still live at least part of their life within some form of nuclear family structure. Also many forms of diversity are variations on the nuclear family norm - reconstituted families, modified extended, gay etc, all to greater or lesser extents are based on nuclear units and therefore diversity is exhibited in the various different forms of a nuclear family. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Around 26% of fathers said they had switched to a part-time job, while 24% said they had taken up flexible working, a further 14% of fathers said they had stopped working outside of the home altogether after having children.'(www.channel4.com/news) Murdoch (1949) was another functionalist, and he identified four functions of the nuclear family. Economic, educational, sexual and reproductive. There are sociologists who take a New Right approach and believe in the traditional values of the nuclear family. 'Like functionalism, the New Right sees the nuclear family as an ideal type and has an overly harmonious conception of this type of family.'(Carol Waugh, Viv Thompson pg140) In contrast to the functionalist perspective, the post modern view supports the view that families in contemporary UK are diverse. That it is pointless talking only of an institution called the 'family' as people now live in an ever changing wide range of social relationships. 'Post modernists believe that there are few of the social constraints on people that structuralist approaches identify, and society and social structures cease to exist; there is only a mass if individuals making individual choices' (Ken Browne pg 23) In consideration of the ever changing culture of Britain it would appear from the evidence presented that there is no one typical family type. Most sociologists believe that family types are becoming increasingly diverse. ...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 Sociological Differentiation & Stratification 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 Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Family Diversity

    The evidence suggests that what matters is the relationship between the child and its parents and not their sexuality. All these things determine family diversity and is all very common in Britain. Within these types of families, there are also other things that categorise these families, one being social class.

  2. How has the family changed over the last 100 years

    is where parents have been divorced and remarried again, or having a step father/mother. About a 100 years ago families lived all together, everyone knew about each other and the interactions and social skills were great at that time, the members of families showed respect and were more caring and affectionate towards each other.

  1. Examine the reasons for the increase in family and household diversity in the last ...

    Many see cohabitation as a trial marriage and intend to marry if it goes well. Most cohabiting couples decide to marry if they have children. On the other hand, some couples see cohabitation as a permanent alternative to marriage. In some cases, cohabitation is a temporary phase before marriage because one or both partners are awaiting a divorce.

  2. Demography topic revision notes. The study of populations and their characteristics is called ...

    In these cultures, the old are revered and respected; ageing is associated with a rising status. According to Peter Townsend (1981), one reason for negative attitudes to the elderly in our society is that old age has been socially constructed as a period of dependency by creating a statutory retirement

  1. The characteristics of Post Modernism

    Nationalism has also led to the EU which means that lots of the powers the government had are lost to the EU which has complete control. Knowledge The post-modern perspective involves the lack of faith in meta-narratives which are big stories which explain how society works.

  2. Sociological Theories

    Talcott Parsons sees the educational system as an important tool for the selection of individuals for their future role in society. Marxist also believes this and says that education prepares children to accept their future exploitation and gives them qualifications to match their adult work roles.

  1. Compare and contrast two sociological theories

    The word conflict describes those perspectives which assume that, in society, groups exist with differing interests. Even though these two theories oppose, they do have some similarities. They both offer a macro-explanation of society meaning they both look at the overall structure of society, rather than looking at individual views.

  2. BTEC NATIONAL LEVEL 3 ...

    One of them is consciousness, and I take every chance to impose that belief on others through my writing and speaking. Another is opportunity, is technological progress, which results in a better life for us all if not deterred by irrational fears.

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