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

As society has become more industrial, the family has changed structurally along withit and due to it.

Extracts from this document...


As society has become more industrial, the family has changed structurally along with it and due to it. In pre-industrial times the family generally contained members of kin, in what has been described as the 'extended' family. This group worked together, mainly in agriculture or textiles in rural areas. With the introduction of mechanical means of production and factories, the population migrated into towns and cities. It was here that the family became more streamlined with individual members earning wages independently rather than as a collective unit. Also, with the modernisation of society, came institutions such as hospitals and schools. This paper will consider what emerged as the modern nuclear family and how its role and structure has changed along with the society we live in. It looks at two variations of family structure and how they may have come about. Firstly though we shall look at some sociological theories of what the family is and what it does. One theory, of the family being a functionalist unit is held by Parsons (1955).He sees the traditional nuclear family, mother, father and their offspring as being ideal to satisfy the needs of both family members and society as a whole. ...read more.


In society there are family types that do not fit in with this archetypal image and yet exist. One type is the reconstituted family. This can take the form that one or more of the adults have been previously married, and also that either individual may have children of their own. These children may be brought to the new family and reside with step-brothers or sisters. According to Taylor et. al. (1995), this type of family is becoming more common in society, with an estimated six million people living this way. Further data released by National Census (2001), has put this figure at around 8% of the population of England and Wales. This would indicate that although people are experiencing break-ups they do attempt to recreate a semi-conventional family set-up; mother, father and children. Another type of family that has been the subject of sociological research is the lone parent family. This consists of one parent, usually female and child or children. There are defined reasons why this family originates. Haralambos (2000), states these to be; in the instance of a married couple, that they may have legally divorced, separated or that one of the parents had died. In the case of unmarried couples; both parents may have lived together at the time of birth of their child and stopped cohabitating sometime after or indeed that they may have not lived together at all. ...read more.


There is the reconstituted family where adults come from past relationships or families, maybe bringing their children with them. They could be viewed as recreating their own version of the traditional family in which to find personal satisfaction and an environment in which to rear their own or collective children. They may hold the view that this is the best place to do this: a secure, loving habitat. This can be illustrated in the theories put forward by Parsons and Murdock's terminology which conjures up the image of what families should consist of and do; the ideal familial set-up. But we can also see that not everybody is prepared to endure a less than favourable relationship in pursuit of these ideals. This is apparent in the increasing amount of lone parent families which, as stated, are in the majority of cases, headed by women. The ability to branch out independently from unsuitable partners has come about through a change in social attitudes towards this type of family, and more importantly changes in law surrounding equality, marriage and divorce. If an individual finds that their marriage does not meet their expectations, or fulfil their family ideal, laws are in place to allow people to reconsider their family structure and role. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...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. Mateship has long been a major aspect of the national image as projected by ...

    In terms of democracy, the American view of this emphasizes individual efforts of achievement, but in Australia, democracy comes from the freedom to join mates for a common good. According to Ward (1978, p96), if the Australian democracy, the freedom to combine people for their collective interests, had not been

  2. In what ways does "Modern times" capture the main features of an industrial capitalist ...

    Yet it is the tramp that is used to test this device and once abused by the machine the president just turns and says "not practical" therefore is a key aspect in showing how employees were exploited and driven to the brink of nervousness.

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

    Family 2003 Household Same Street 4.17% Same village 70.83% Same city 12.5% Same county 8.33% Same country 4.7% 1968 Household Same Street 8.33% Same village 79.16% Same city 8.33% Same county 4.18% Same country Ethnic Diversity 2003 Household English 83.33% English and one other backgrounds 12.5% Change in the role

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

    leader", primarily responsible for the socialisation of the children and the emotional care and support of family members. Parsons concluded that only the nuclear family could effectively provide the achievement-orientation and geographically mobile workforce required by modern societies and that there is a functional fit between the extended family and pre-industrial Britain (having to grow food for family etc.)

  1. Changes in Family Roles

    One person said "the role that the extended family plays depends entirely on the individual family" also someone else had said "the extended family still plays the same role depending on where in the world you are, and the culture of your country."

  2. What Civil Society Can Do to Develop Democracy

    The Civil Dialogue initiated by the Commission in the 1990s was a first attempt by the EU to give the institutions of society-and not only governments and businesses-a voice at the policy-making tables in Brussels. The EU, like other international institutions, has a long way to go in trying to

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

    Research indicated that people were mainly living in nuclear families which were more inward looking, home centred and less inclined to be sociable outside the home with kin and friends. Authors such as Parsons and Fletcher have suggested that it was the process of industrialisation that brought the later symmetrical stages, which contrasted to their prequel stages.

  2. Secondary research for equality in the family.

    In his study "Middle class couples " He examined conjugal roles in a sample of 38 middle class couples. Young and Willmott thought that the Symmetrical family in the middle class, but Edgell found little of this. None of these couples had joint conjugal roles to housework, although 45% did have joint conjugal to the relation of childcare.

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