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Assess the view that, despite recent changes in family life,

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Introduction

Assess the view that, despite recent changes in family life, "the conventional nuclear family remains the norm" for families and households in Britain today. Since the Industrial revelation the nuclear family has been recognised as the norm of British society and although there have been recent changes in family life, is the norm of Britain today still the conventional nuclear family? The nuclear family has always been considered the norm in society ever since the industrial revolution but in society today the single parent family has had a dramatic increase from around 4% to 10% and no longer is the conventional nuclear family the powerful norm that it used to be. The supposed value of the "traditional family unit" is that it provides social cohesion and stability because the family home is a place where two adults live and care for each other and for their children, where needs are met, moral values inculcated, and personal happiness ensured. However the modern sense of what it means to be a family is changing and the conventional nuclear family is thought by many to be a thing of the past. ...read more.

Middle

However there have been criticisms of Murdock suggesting that in his passion for his work he may have been caught up in the fact that there may have been other institutions within society, which can perform various functions of the family that he describes as being indispensable Parsons stated that the nuclear family performs two core functions; the primary socialization of children, and the stabilization of adult personalities. Parsons argues that the women's role in the family is 'expressive', providing warmth, security and emotional support to the husband and children, and the males' role is 'instrumental', as the breadwinner. This view of the family and gender roles for men and women is quite old fashioned. Nowadays-conjugal roles are more symmetrical. Women can now be wage earners and it no longer seems deviant for men to take a role in childcare and the domestic chores. However there have been many criticisms of Parsons. One is the fact that he idealised the nuclear family. He portrays this image of the family as having well adjusted children and sympathic spouses who care for each other's needs. ...read more.

Conclusion

However the nuclear family still remains the norm in British society but not in the conventional way that it used to. Many nuclear families today have symmetrical conjugal roles with both the man and women going out to work. The conventional nuclear family seems to have almost disappeared with only 24% still remaining in the old ways while the symmetrical nuclear family of the modern society still seems to be the norm with over 50% of the population living within one. Though the nuclear family is no longer as powerful as it used to be. Is this because now divorce is easier, than it used to be in industrial times and women are no longer as depended on men so no longer need to stay in loveless marriages. However the single parent families are becoming a larger part of society today after doubling over the last 20 years and one main reason for this is supposedly that women now have control and our able to divorce more easily. The government now provides single parents with benefits and even houses so are actually making it easier for people to separate. This raises the question, should divorce be so easy or is it better that people live in loveless nuclear families? ...read more.

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