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To what extent have recent changes in British society led to a greater diversity of family types?

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Introduction

To what extent have recent changes in British society led to a greater diversity of family types? Recent changes in British society have led to a greater diversity of family types, "Some writers have argued that traditional family life is disappearing in Britain" Moore, 1987, Sociology alive. Most people seem to view the traditional family as a married male and female with dependant children, however family types today may include one parent families, same sex families, unmarried parents who co habit and most popularly families who have step relations. I intend to research and discuss these different types of family, and the factors and changes in British society, which have influenced them, to provide a well-researched and informative essay. Willmott and Young have studied family life in London for over twenty years. They believe that the family has changed over four stages. I have researched the four stages so I can see changes in society such as industrialisation, and the way it has effected the family. Stage one is the pre-industrial family, which was a close knit unit of production who worked as a team mainly in textiles and agriculture. The family then changed as it ceased to be a unit of production and family members became individual wage earners. ...read more.

Middle

The law was changed again in 1984 to allow divorce to be available after just one year instead of being three years previously. In 1970, another law was passed the matrimonial proceedings act, which allowed wives an equal share in ownership of the marital home. This allowed financial security for both partners and along with benefits such as income support and the availability of council flats, these changes influenced the rise in single parent families. This was seen as a big step as in the past families had relied on each other and pulled together to make money in family ventures and businesses such as in the cotton mills and farming. Besides the laws passed society began to accept divorcees without any stigma and this allowed them to remarry and have a second family. I have also found in my research that the media seems to promote the importance of "romance and personal happiness" Townroe and Yates, Sociology, 1995. However, if family members are working long hours, as I briefly discussed before, then there would be limited time spent at home and this would effect In addition, with other factors this has influenced the standards expected from marriage, and many people ask themselves, why get married? Throughout time, there have been many answers to this question as shown in the cartoon below. ...read more.

Conclusion

Recent laws have also made it possible for people in a same sex relationship to adopt children, therefore changing their family to become as equal as the idea of a nuclear family, in the eyes of the law. I personally believe that in the majority of cases once a law is passed society are more likely to accept this as another social norm, without any social stigma it may have previously attached to. Another illustration of this would be divorce, as I previously discussed. In conclusion to my paper, there are many different changes in British society recently that has led to a greater diversity of family types. However, as I have only explored a few of the main changes such as divorce and the contraceptive pill I have found it hard to discover the extent all recent changes in British society have had on the diversity of family types. Societies attitudes are constantly changing and therefore different laws are proposed such as laws regarding same sex relationships. I have found in my research that the idea of what is acceptable as a family unit is constantly changing and therefore the diversity of family types is being influenced by these new ideas and is also constantly changing. "Clearly families will keep on evolving, changing and rebuilding themselves, while participants go on loving, hating and despising one another, sometimes all at the same time" Benardes, 2001, Sociology review. ...read more.

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