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Changing Family in British Contemporary Society.

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Introduction

Student number 03303353 Changing Family in British Contemporary Society In this assignment I will be explaining how the family has experienced changes within British contemporary society. I will define how the impact prior and post industrial revolution influenced not only the change in family structure but the way families have evolved and function today. I will relate to theoretical approaches that sociologists believe to have affected the family and also focus on legislation and social policy that exist within society, which also contribute to the constant family changes. Over the course of time, much effort has been exerted in trying to analyse how families in British contemporary society have evolved. In seeking an explanation for changes sociologists divided families into two types: The Nuclear Family Consists of parents and children. The Extended Family Consisting of parents, children and other family members e.g. grandparents, aunts and uncles. Before industrialisation the consensus of opinion was that the majority of families were of the extended type. Society was relatively static and stable. Geographical and social mobility were minimal, resulting in the necessity of having large family units. The period of industrial revolution began in Britain around the middle of the eighteen century. Industrialisation introduced a number of important Sociological changes towards family physical design and development within contemporary society. Large numbers of the workforce migrated from agriculture which was predominantly worked by extended family groups to Industrial work which involved the manufacture of goods in a mechanised mass production factory environment cheaper and more efficiently than small home based family industry. ...read more.

Middle

However mobility exists within today's society as although I come from a working class background, I am able to attend university. However education could be considered as a ruling class dictate which expands expectation and creates obedient workers who comply with the working class. Marxist's fail to acknowledge that the family is a refuge from the working environment; it is a positive escapism that provides love, support, unity and primary socialisation. The family unit is influenced by values as much, if not more than other area's in sociology. Concepts about what approach the family should conform to be inevitably the start from value judgements about what kind of family is desirable within society. As an example different type of families live and adopt varying Ideas about society, for instance families critical of capitalistic society and the social inequality, tend to generate different notions of how the family is expected to behave, compared to those who believe in a free market society (often those belonging to a middle class background have not had to suffer hardship and deprivation and tend not to be aware or sympathetic of it's existence). In this sense no perspective of how families should conform can be seen as a definitive form. This is reinforced by all the different variations of families that make up society. Values are an integral part of social policy theories, which have shaped, and continue to shape, the family. ...read more.

Conclusion

By 1976 the rate of divorce had further increased up to 126.7. The rate has continued to slowly rise so that by 1996 the rate stood at 157.1 divorces per 1,000 marriages. The ratio of second or later marriages within the statistics has also shown an increasing trend of divorce from 1.9 in 1961, 2.7 in 1996, through to 25.9 per 1,000 marriages in 1986. The divorce ratio has shown a marked increase since 1969, this maybe due to the ease divorces can be granted through the legal system, or through the emancipation and empowerment which has changed women's perception of the marital state and their standing in society. Divorce carried a social stigma and it was a woman's lot to endure behaviour, which now legally is considered suitable grounds for termination of marriage. The consequence of the higher divorce rate has lead to children being brought up in a single parent environment or with step parents, sometimes with an extended family of step brothers and sisters or even in some cases with same sex couples. In conclusion there are many factors which have changed family in British contemporary society. Sociological theories attribute relevant explanation and research into the exploration of such changes. Legislation, social policy and research also contribute to family moulding over a time period. However, the family unit based on whatever definition it has, is viewed as an organic unit that has constantly changed and looks to keep on evolving, just as society, legislation and social policy does. ...read more.

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