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Assess the degree of diversity in modern British families today.

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Introduction

Assess the degree of diversity in Modern British families today. The conventional families have far been lost in the diversity that is available in today's modern society. I am going to look the main elements of diversity that is present in the modern British family. As far back as 1978, only 20% of family have had the traditional family unit. If we look back to Murdock's definition of a family we can see that in the 1950's diversity was not accepted in society. Murdock was a traditionalist who believed in the nuclear family units, the husband worker, the housewife and one or more children. In today's society dual worker families are increasing, this where the husband and wife both work. He also believed in Vertical extensions; spouse's parents/granny, and horizontal extensions; husband's brother plus additional wife. Murdock's view was that a family consisted of; 'adults of both sexes, at least two of whom, maintain a socially approved sexual relationships and one or more children....' This statement in today's society has no relevance due to range of structural diversity. A more modern definition of the family unit is Giddens 1993, 'A family is a group of persons directly linked by kin connections, the adult members of which assume responsibility for caring for children' this statement is simple and allows all routes of family diversity to be linked to it. ...read more.

Middle

Callahan 1997 'Gay and Lesbians households should still be classed as family's....remarriage would be a popular opinion if available'. Callahan states if there is a permanent shared commitment and shared kinship bonding and nurturing of a child, that it should be considered as a family. There is also an increasing numbers of reconstituted family's according to the 1991 General Household Survey four fifths of men and three quarters of women divorce before they are 35 and re-marry within ten years. Burgoyne and Clarke 1982 suggests that reconstituted families may find advantages in having more than two parental figures in their children's lives, and believe that step-siblings gain from living together. The Sheffield report also states that successful reconstituted families felt a great sense of achievement. Another degree in diversity is cultural diversity. These are differences in the lifestyles of families of different ethnic origins and of different religious beliefs. Oakley 1982 stated that British Cypriots have just as strong traditional family ties as there Cypriot counterparts, it showed that there relationships didn't change even though living in a British society. In the National Survey of Ethnic Minorities it showed that British Asians are more likely to marry and earlier than the British, this is probably due to their stronger religious beliefs in marriage. Once again living in a British society has not effected their beliefs. The survey also found that 90% of South Asian families with children had married parents, compared to the British this was only 75%. ...read more.

Conclusion

John Scott 1982-1991 looked at the upper class and how their families had wide extended kinship networks. This social group often has complete social closure, this means they do not converse with any other class than themselves. This is often results in intermarriage and interconnections between other upper class families. If we look at a 'normal' life cycle it usually involves birth-schooling-further education-employment-marriage-children-retirement- and finally death. A post modernist view such as Gitten and Barnardes 1990-Present states that the life cycle involves foster homes, unemployment, travelling, homo-sexual relationships, surrogacy. The variety is endless in today's society. The rapaports 1982 also states that there is diversity between families depending on what region they live. If looked at a inner city family compared to a rural family. The rural familys have more patrifocal family units, the inner city has a higher range of single parents and family diversity. The Neo-conventional views stated by Chester 1985 are that the changes in families are only minor, he argues that in 1985, 30%of households consisted of two parents plus children, but 49% of people lived in such households. Even though that the nuclear family has declined over half still live in such households. Although Chester made a point to show how nuclear families are still alive, we can look at surveys between 1981 and 1998 that show a decrease from 59% of people living in parent and children house holds to 49%. Reports also show an increase in single parent households. This that Britain is still distancing itself from the nuclear family and that diversity in families is set to increase. ...read more.

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