• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Family As A Social Institution

Extracts from this document...


The Family As A Social Institution The word family originally meant A Band Of Slaves.(Coontz 1999) It is worth noting this when looking at the origins of Families. For even when the word came to apply to persons affiliated by blood and marriage this was more in relation to the notion of families as authority relations rather than our modern terminology being of families as groups of loved ones. It is also important to note that marriage in those other than the elite in most white Christian societies was not a ceremony performed until the last 250 years or so. This was because of the way in which land and other things of value were to be divided and as only the rich had to worry about disbursement of assets after their deaths they were the only ones that needed in essence to be legally married. But regardless of the Religious and or legal ceremonies surrounding the union of marriage past or present the concept of family has remained very strong. The family has always been a fundamental building block for all societies. In essence it is the relationship between family members that has always determined the way in which a whole society and community can function. Through learning to show respect towards others in your own family, by being nurtured and cared for by this small group of individuals we are taught very strongly that that is the way in which our society has chosen to demonstrate to us how we should treat each other. ...read more.


As woman we are now able to have a great many more choices in what we choose to do with our lives. Hence the lower birth rate etc. The majority of women still chose to aspire to be married however and to have at least one child. In the last 300 to 400 years there has been increasing emphasis on the autonomy of the individual, on romantic love on the privacy of the couple, on affectionate relationships between couples and their children and with legal changes that have reduced the power of extended family over the nuclear family. In fact it seems that the 1950s were the pinnacle of this idealising of the nuclear family. At that time anyone who did not aspire to be a two-parent family with their own children was considered deviant. (Ehrenreich 1983) Then from the 1960s the idea of the nuclear family came under scrutiny as the rights of the individual family members came to have more importance than the rights of individual families (McDonald 1988). However today in Australian Society it is family life that is still very strongly valued. People continue to still want and value the life of the family unit. Women now work outside the home but it is still their home that is of most importance to them. We are having fewer children but we are spending more money than ever on them.(Australian bureau statistics 2000) Whatever rewards we are gaining by becoming more recognised in society on an individual basis we still turn back to our family for the dispersion of these rewards, to thank them, for support and for love. ...read more.


Or are they just continuing to change based on economic factors as they have done in the past? Change and progress or demise of the perfect family and anarchy? A lot of questions but as to whether there will be anarchy or a lack of basic values if the notion of family as we now know it is no more, well only time can tell. Will the war that is taking place at the moment and the huge resistance by many common people help us to see ourselves as a global family? That we are all of us interconnected. That one society doesn't just make up the body but the whole world does. What implication does this have? In Australia people are basically defining their own families. They do this on four main dimensions.(Bulbeck 1998) 1. The relationship to the person. 2. The purpose or activity concerned. 3. Particular circumstances in their case. 4. Their perceptions of the nature of their obligations. However they still are striving to be defined as a Family. To be seen as a family or part of a family is something that will be important to our society for a very long time to come. So as stated throughout this paper it is not so much a question of is family important but of the fact that it is very important and to what extent we will now as a society go to in the future in order to define our families, just so that we can all no matter if we are, gay, straight, childless, have 2 dogs, live with step parents foster parents etc call ourselves part of a family. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Is George Murdock's 'Nuclear Family' still, the norm in British society?

    All of the results I found from survey are displayed on pages 12-17 of my pilot study. Evaluation The a pilot study of my research into the family has been extremely useful, as it has given me an insight into the aspects of the family, which I have never considered

  2. Mateship has long been a major aspect of the national image as projected by ...

    was seen and the myths and realities of Australian life were the main direction. Many of the most famous films and those given classic status of the New Australian Cinema were from this period, such as Mad Max, Sunday Too Far Away and Picnic at Hanging Rock.

  1. Discuss the contention that postmodern culture and post modern living arrangements are diverse, fluid ...

    Masculinities: Polity press: Cambridge Mac an Ghaill (1996) Understanding Masculinities: Bristol: Open University Press Morgan (1992) Discovering Men Richardson (1996) Theorising Heterosexuality: Telling it Straight: Buckingham: Open University Press Frosh(1994) Sexual Difference : Masculinity and Psychoanalysis Kimmel and Messner (2001)

  2. Max Weber: Basic Terms (The Fundamental Concepts of Sociology)

    regulate employers conduct toward their employees, to ensure laborers were paid in money and not in kind. War needs and luxury consumption fed capitalism's growth. However, all those silly folks who've argued that war was the driving force are wrong.

  1. Aborigines in Australia.

    As such, these laws have been the subject of controversies and debate between the natives, politicians and major players in the farming and mining industry. In spite of such controversies and debates, however, the aborigines have learned to organized themselves into Land Councils to safeguard their lands from illegal claimants,

  2. Critically discuss the importance of the institution of marriage in contemporary Britain.

    Sense and Sensibility, she argued that marriages should be based on romantic love. Feminists also began to argue for the reversal of the secondary position, which men enjoyed in marriage. Women were no longer happy with the submissive domestic role expected of them - this went on late into the

  1. 'The Family Friendly Firm'.

    In addition the practicalities of the situation often favour husbands, as men are more frequently offered high status posts or higher salaries than their wives. For women in dual career families, relocation can cause considerable frustration. A study of women managers in the UK found that the majority of those who were able to accept relocation (for promotion)

  2. Secondary research for equality in the family.

    and take on full time employment, they continue to carry the burden of domestic work; Women even remained housewives even if they come the main source of income. Gershuny hypothesis was correct, he found the amount of work, paid and unpaid carried out by husbands and wives had risen of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work