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Examine the effects of industrialisation on the structure of the family

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Introduction

Examine the effects of industrialisation on the structure of the family The pre- industrial family was said to be an extended family consisting of three generations, the children, parents and the grandparents. The family would all work together in the farms to help provide for the entire families needs, children as young a 5 or 6 would have been found work to do. However this was until the Industrial revolution when factories become the main source of work and development. The pre-industrial societies were largely based on extended kinship networks; land and other resources were commonly owned by a range of relatives that extended well beyond the unit of the nuclear family. It was very common for families to work alongside their cousins and even live with them. This extended family was responsible for the production of the shelter, food and clothing for the family. Roles in the family were usually ascribed to the offspring rather than being achieved. These roles would hardly ever be rejected and in return for this commitment, the extended network would perform other functions for the members. The family gave its members the skills and the education in which to take their place in the family division of labour. ...read more.

Middle

Young and Willmott believed that there were four stages of the family and from those four there were three main stages. They studied family life in London (1950's - 1970's) using historical research and social surveys, this allowed them to obtain both qualitative and quantitative data. Young and Willmott say that stage one was represented by the pre industrial family. They believe that in stage one the family works together as a team for example in agriculture. They say that this family was as a result of the industrial revolution, but it continued into the nineteenth century and is still represented in the minority of families today. Stage two of their studies researched its peak in early twentieth century. The family ceased to be a unit of production due to industrial members being employed as wage earners. In early nineteenth century working class poverty was widespread and the family responded to the high unemployment by extending its network to include relatives beyond the nuclear family. The extension of the nuclear family was built by women in defence of themselves and their children. Women formed a trade union which excluded men. Young and Willmott claim husbands were pushed out of the female circle and took to the pub as their own defence. ...read more.

Conclusion

by interviewing working class women. Her research allowed her to compare with earlier findings, but she only looked women and their roles in the family so she didn't actually identify any roles changes after industrialisation. Also she only interviewed working class women so her findings fail to provide a clear representation for society. In conclusion it seems, although everyone had some theory to how and when the nuclear family came to be, no one could actually be sure. Parsons theories seem to be flawed and as Young and Wilmott suggested the speed at which Parsons suggested the evolution of the nuclear family happened seems almost exaggerated and wrong. All in all industrialisation apart from families no longer having to grow there own crops and provide for themselves, really seems to have had little effect on the family until 1960 when the nuclear family appeared in great numbers according to Young and Wilmott. Contradicting this, Laslett seems to suggest that the nuclear family has always existed but worked as an extended family and that industrialisation only occurred because of the nuclear family and not the other way around. So if Laslett is correct then there was no extended family but two nuclear families working as an extended unit, living under separate roofs. This greatly flaws Parsons and Young and Wilmot's theories of the extended family consisting of three generations. ...read more.

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