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Is the Family Changing In Contemporary British Society?

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Is the Family Changing In Contemporary British Society Is the Family Changing In Contemporary British Society The family is for the most part the source that passes on to the children the ordered pattern of society. So a shift in how the family works will have extensive ramifications across society over a relatively short period of time. In order to give this question a full answer one must not only look at the change in structure of the family unit but also its changing role. Statistical research has illustrated that throughout the nineteenth century divorce rates have increased. Changes in household and family patterns reflect changes in household and family patterns reflect changes in the parenting and marital status of the family over time. The total number of marriages in the UK has fallen from its peak in 1972 and has continued to fall year on year. In 1997 there were 310000 marriages a 70000 fall from 1996. The economist 14/01/00 ran a story `is marriage going out of fashion` and it showed the fall in weddings and the rise in cohabitation. ...read more.


According to the Marxist perspective, divorce is viewed to bring about various effects on individual members. They argue that in capitalist societies, marriage is an imperative institution as it stabilises the workforce and keeps them content. This in turn benefits the employer as a happy worker is a productive worker it also allows pro capitalist ideology to be passed from one generation to the next. Therefore Marxists believe that divorce is necessary to stop capitalism from perpetuating. Marxists believe that the children should be raised in a communal environment very much in keeping with the ideals of communism. In 1980 a study was competed by Watterstein & Kelly entitled "Surviving the Break-up". 60 affluent white Californian couples. They discovered that almost all 131 children experienced intense emotional disturbances at the time of the divorce/separation. However after five years, only two thirds of the children were coping reasonably well but the remainder were dissatisfied even after the parent that they were living with remarried. Watterstein & Kelly concluded by showing that 70% of children receiving some form of counselling are from broken homes. ...read more.


Chandler quotes research which estimates that a quarter to a third of couple lived in consensual union in Britain in the 18th century. These figures do not show how many of these consensual unions went onto be consummated. It also does not take into account unregistered weddings. In a sense, functionalist would agree that an increase in cohabitation is a symptom of a rise in instability within families. Although a traditional approach, functionalism believes marriage to be the most effective institution that serves the purpose of transmitting social solidarity through value consensus. Dobash in 1980 did the larges study on domestic violence ever to be held in Scotland and found out that 25% of assault is family related. Does this mean that there is no assault in cohabiting couples, obviously not but, it is harder to define a consensually unified couple and therefore harder to calculate the figures. The large amounts of statistical analysis and theory suggest to me that there is no all encompassing solution that can be drawn. All that one can say is that the family is a dynamic and since its conception in caveman times it has been changing and will continue to change with time and contemporary ideas. ...read more.

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