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Examine some of the reasons for the diversity of families and households in Britain today

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Liam Hindle October 2003 Sociology Families and Households e. Examine some of the reasons for the diversity of families and households in Britain today. (20 marks) Family is changing and has always being changing. Since world war two the amount of diverse families has grown over time. As early as the 1950's the family has rapidly changed, some say for the better and other say for the worse but undoubtedly we can identify differences between now and recent years, like things such as immigration and values. Other issues such as the invention the pill, (birth control), allowing both men and women to file for divorce without having to prove adultery, (which was needed to be done before), and religion also not playing such an important part in peoples lives meant that changes in the family structure became more acceptable in society. Before the time identified being the changing period for diverse families being on the rise, following the norms of society it was "proper" and "right" to be part of a nuclear family. The nuclear families in the early years was a father financially supporting the family and the mother, who had to be married, looking after their children and their home, and this nuclear family provided all the necessary factors needed in life which is how functionalists argued. ...read more.


There is now the possibility of surrogate motherhood, and of test tube babies. This now adds to the range of possible family diversity. IMMIGRATION Immigration has meant that the cultural life of Britain has been greatly enlarged by the mass immigrations of the 1950s and 60s. SOCIOL POLICY It has been argued that the existence of welfare secures the survival of many lone parent families. Without state (government) support many such families could not survive economically. TYPES OF DIVERSITY - The Rapport's (1982) argue that there are five types of diversity in contemporary families. These are: * ORGANISATIONAL DIVERSITY * CULTURAL (ETHINIC) * CLASS * LIFE COURSE * COHORT Organisational Diversity This is referring to the different type of family structure, e.g. single parent and reconstituted families. Diversity of lifestyles also reflects people at different points in their life course. E.g. many people live alone, but for different reasons this may not be permanent for the rest of their life. Cultural (Ethinic) Britain is a multi-ethnic society. In the case of South Asian families, both Hindu and Muslim, there is a tendency for the families to be extended and sometimes very traditional. Afro-Caribbean families, like Asian families, tend to reflect the societies from which they migrated. The stereotypical image of the Afro-Caribbean family in Britain is of a single parent household, but perhaps the key point is that Afro-Caribbean families tend to be mother-centred. ...read more.


Gay and Lesbian Weeks (1999) argue that there are more openly gay or lesbians households than there was in the past. This is because of the growth in choice and the relaxation of tradition. Such households, argue Weeks, do see themselves as families. Another viewpoint is that the family has not changed much and the predominant form of family organisation continues to be the traditional nuclear family. ARGUMENT ONE Robert Chester, "The Rise of the Neo-Conventional family, New Society (1985) argues that: * Most adults still marry and have children. * Most children are reared by their natural parents. * Most people live in a household headed by a married couple. * Most marriages continue until parted by death. Chester argues that no great change in family organisation has occurred. There is, in general, continuity with the past. ARGUMENT TWO Silva & Smart (1999) conclude that there are strong continuities in British family life, but that at the same time there was drift towards more varied forms of family organisation, based they argue on more freedom of 'personal choice'. CONCLUSION So in conclusion, although the nuclear family is still around and popular in modern Britain it has been slightly adapted to changes both in society and in the house. As Britain is such a multi-cultural society with different races, religions and sexuality's there are many more diverse families and with society how it is today most people accept the diverse structures. The families today are mainly typified by diversity. ...read more.

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