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"Commitment to Family life is dying"

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Level 3 Sociology "Commitment to Family life is dying" To discuss the statement "Commitment to family life is dying" and to accurately evaluate whether this statement is accurate, it is essential to first illustrate what 'family life is' and how different sociological perspectives perceive what a family is. How the family is made up, what role the family plays in a wider community and whether this institution still exists in this context and still has influence over society. If so, whether that influence is beneficial or detrimental. Functionalists see the family as the most essential institution within a society, providing every thing an individual needs to contribute effectively to that society. The notion that the family unit and every member of that unit works in harmony with a society is taken as fact, especially the view that the nuclear family is the prevalent family structure and plays the most effective role in stabilising individuals. Talcott Parsons describes the family as retaining two 'basic and irreductable functions' which are common to every family in every society and culture. The first is the 'Primary socialisation of children' and the second, the 'stabilisation of the adult personalities of the population of the society'. What Parsons means by this is that the family firstly reproduces providing more members of a society to fill the roles needed for the structure of society to continue and that within a family environment these ...read more.


For those who did not own any of the means of production (the proletariat) the family created an institution where they were prepared to work efficiently and create the right environment for ideological conditioning i.e. could pass on the values of the worker, and the workers place in society to the next generation. Thus making it less likely that the individual did not reject this 'place' in the future. The capitalist system is also based around the free domestic labour of women freeing up male counter parts to participate in industry. Finally the family unit has been educated and organised in such a way that it is actually consumes the results of the labour it produces resulting in economic gain for capitalists. Another role of the family to absorb the frustrations of the male worker so he can function is his role as an employee to the best of his ability, this is seem as the root of the causes of domestic violence but this shall be discussed further when looking at feminism and it's views on the family. One criticism which applies to both Marxist and Functionalist perspectives in relation to their views on the family is that both "presuppose a traditional model of the nuclear family where there is a married couple with children, where the husband is the bread winner and where the wife stays at home to deal with the housework" D. H. ...read more.


Another factor determining the make up of the family in modern Britain which the statistics provided do not represent are ethnic minorities in the UK, whom bring with them an alternative family unit with larger families and decreasing divorce levels. This group makes up 7.9% of the population with Asian or Asian British constituting half of this percentage. (see figure 2.3). attitudes towards divorce vary among different ethnic groups with Asian families accepting divorce in their families the least. These attitudes are evident in data shown in figure 2.4. What is interesting to note in these figures is the very low rates in divorce, cohabitation and occurrence of single mothers in Asian families where as other ethnic groups show levels of divorce much higher, what these figures do not suggest is the explanation for this. It is possible to say that the traditional nuclear family has suffered but in its place is a new range of alternative lifestyles which still fulfil the roles of societies just in different ways and because individuals now have greater freedom of choice on how they organise their domestic lives it could be said that as a result society as a whole must benefit. It is also possible to argue that the true threat to family life is not the decline of the nuclear family but the increasing rates of poverty which effect a whole section of societies freedom of choice, ability to care for each other and raise their children with self respect and social awareness. ...read more.

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