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Using appropriate sources of information support or refute the argument that in contemporary society the family has lost its relevance.

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Using appropriate sources of information support or refute the argument that in contemporary society the family has lost its relevance. In this short essay, I will be supporting the argument, but as always there are two sides of a story. I will be highlighting the reasons why the family is not as traditional as it used to be. The most frequently quoted definition of the family is that of George Murdock: "The family is a social group characterised by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults" (Murdock 1949:1) ...read more.


and cohabiting families (living together without legally being married). There has been an increase in cohabitation since the 1970's. This is due to the fact that people are delaying marriage rather than rejecting it (Chester 1985). As a result forty per cent of births now occur outside marriage (ONS 2001). Evidence suggests that sex before marriage has become the norm, (Joshi, 1989) when in the past it was wrong or sinful to have sex before marriage. Families are much smaller than they used to be (fertility rate is now just 1.64 children per woman) - Mintel 2000. This implies that women are more concerned about their career prospects and education. ...read more.


On the other hand, the rise in the numbers of the elderly is dramatic. Reduced numbers of young people are giving rise to the proportion of elderly in the population. This leads to the question as to who will look after the elderly. In conclusion, I think that the family (more so the nuclear standard family) is losing its relevance, maybe not rapidly but gradually and slowly. As argued earlier, "All four trends- cohabitation, divorce, births outside marriage and single-parents are likely to be even more pronounced by 2020." (The Guardian, 2004). In the future, cohabitation and reconstitution will be more common, as the recent trends suggest. Studies suggest that the nuclear family is not the predominate family in the contemporary society. It seems likely that the increase in cohabitation is part of a new pattern of marriage. ...read more.

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