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

A Review of the Article "How Have Families Changed" by Diane Gittins.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

A Review of the Article "How Have Families Changed" by Diane Gittins In my attempts to define the concept of a family group, an initial problem that arises is one of whether or not it is possible (or indeed wise) to assume that there is such an institution as 'the' family in any society (note the emphasis on 'the', since it means that there can only be one type).1 In this respect, I have asked myself some interesting questions: 1. Is there only one type of family structure in society, or is it possible to talk about a variety of family types? 2 If there are a "variety of family types" are these types really very different from one another (that is, are they theoretically and empirically distinct) or are they simply variations on a basic family theme. Whatever the particulars of the matter (and these questions will assume a much greater importance as I move through this section of my review), a "classic definition" of "the family" is one provided by the Functionalist Sociologist George Peter Murdock ("Social Structure", 1949), when he states: "The family is a social group characterised by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially-approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults". ...read more.

Middle

wife with clear gender roles.2 In contrast much of the evidence suggests that industrialisation may have followed different patterns in different industrial societies.3 The Japanese experience, for example, has been quite different form that of Britain and, consequently extended families has remained important in Japan. Jean-Flandrin (1971) also demonstrated how a variety of family types exited in different regions of France.4 The study of English parish records suggests that only 10% of households in the pre-industrial period contained extended kin. In other words, most pre-industrial families may in fact have been nuclear, and not extended as some sociologists claimed. Such small families were probably due to late marriage, early death and the practice of sending children away to become servants or apprentices. It may also be the case that industrialisation took off so quickly because nuclear families already exited - and so people could move quickly to those parts of the country where their skills were in demand. Michael Anderson's historical study (1971) of the industrial town of Preston, using census records from 1851, also contradicts Parson's view that the extended unit had been replaced by the nuclear family. Anderson found a large number of households shared by extended kin.5 These probably functioned as a mutual support system in a town in which unemployment and poverty were common. The British sociologists Young and Wilmott (1957) ...read more.

Conclusion

Moreover it also benefited men a like. I also feel one of the main effect of industrialisation was that women's prime function was defined as mother-housewife, allowing men to dominate paid work. There are however some disagreements as to whether or not women have always been subordinated and exploited in the family, or whether their subordination is a result of the growth and development of industrial capitalism.10 The article closely relates aspects of family and households within the social processes characteristic of an industrialising society, such as increasing rates of social and geographical mobility and the shift of production from the home into the factory. The article also reveals a striking continuity in the strength of nineteenth century to twentieth century family relations despite the gradual but profound process of social change surrounding these Western families which have occurred. To conclude I feel the family in the western society seems to be dwindling as a social institution. The stark figures would suggest that British society has turned its back on those things normally associated with the idea of the 'family' within one generation. We have seen many changes, mainly the following; only half as many people are getting married, lone-parent families have increased threefold, children being born outside marriage have quadrupled in numbers, and the number of divorces has trebled. However, there is strong evidence to suggest that these so-called 'changes' in the family are not so recent as one may think. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology 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 GCSE Sociology essays

  1. "Prisons of Silence" by Janice Mirikitani - Review.

    F.A.O Schwarz, a large and expensive store, captures the wildest fantasies of these children, but not before their hesitation of actually going in almost overwhelms them. These children, who we conclude are neither black nor white - distrust and have contempt for a society they do not get to share in.

  2. Is George Murdock's 'Nuclear Family' still, the norm in British society?

    In keeping to this, the use of closed questions mean that the participant does not have write anything to long which will result in the identification of handwriting hence not identifying the participant. As the family situation is highly personal I wanted to keep their confidential information private.

  1. Since the Industrial revelation the nuclear family has been recognised as the norm of ...

    Stage two families were mainly headed by the women. In the early 70's Y&W conducted a large scale survey from which they argued that stage two families had largely dispersed for all social classes especially the working class. The family is characterised by the separation of the disbanded and husbands return to the family circle.

  2. Max Weber: Basic Terms (The Fundamental Concepts of Sociology)

    sense -- things worldly has progressed, the stronger has the tension on the part of religion become. For the rationalization and conscious sublimation of man's relations to the various spheres of values, internal and external, as well as religious and secular, have then pressed towards making conscious the internal and

  1. As society has become more industrial, the family has changed structurally along withit and ...

    be kept stable, in order to function according to the needs of their societal environment. This is brought about in the midst of their family; a warm, loving, supportive environment, that alleviates the stresses of everyday life and the outside world.

  2. Sociology - families and households.

    A criticism of Parsons view would be that he idealises the family, much like Murdock, with his view of well adjusted children and sympathetic spouses caring for each others every need, when in reality not all families are like this.

  1. Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 - review

    Books and the places they are hidden are destroyed by fire, they are burned out of existence so as not to poison society, as dirt is washed from ones own hands.

  2. 'Fight Club' - review.

    The Narrator obtained his possessions one at a time. In reality, he was shaping his personality to be the kind of person who would own the things he had. Tyler Durden appears to be the personification of anti-capitalism. In one quote, he says, "You are not your car.

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