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

What is the crisis in the British family a crisis about? How is the crisis gendered?

Extracts from this document...


What is the crisis in the British family a crisis about? How is the crisis gendered? The term 'family' officially evokes the image of a heterosexual, nuclear institution where each member is related to the other by marriage/law or blood, and the state, religion, media and other important institutions in our society encourage this image. However, lived realities are often very different and in recent years this form of the family, which is assumed to be normal and the norm, has been displaced by various other family forms which are labeled as deviant and which are assumed to be the root of current social problems. Hence has risen a 'crisis' in the British family. This crisis has been highlighted by the various social institutions mentioned above which encourage the heterosexual nuclear family form. Quoting Wright and Jagger, according to them 'the turn of the century is marked by a growing crisis in the family, a crisis that may prove terminal unless decisive action is taken', and the crisis has been pointed out as the collapse of marriage and the 'family'. This crisis however is not new and a similar was said to have risen at the end of the 19th century. ...read more.


Marriage certainly has become less popular in the last 2 decades. Cohabitation, teen pregnancies, the number of children outside marriage has seen a marked increase. Homosexuality also has become much more widely accepted in society and many homosexual couples live with their children - adopted or from previous relationships. Divorce rates have also shot up dramatically with 1 in every 3 marriages ending in a divorce. These changes have been constructed into a national crisis by the state and the media. The statistics have been used to create moral panic among the people. In Britain, the government whether the New Right or the New Left have supported the 'traditional family'. In the debates and policies of the New Right or the New Left, there is seen to be a particular connection between deviant family forms and social ills and there can be seen a particular vision of the individual, family and state responsibility. Policy units, the think tanks like the Social Affairs and the Economic Affairs units and the newspapers rather than the academic press stress are the agencies that stress more on the importance of the 'traditional family values'. [Jagger and Wright, 1999] The lobbyists on behalf of the ' normal' family say that government policies and feminist ideologies threaten it. ...read more.


The traditional family is seen as one in which the male is the breadwinner and the woman is the homemaker - looking after the house and the children. This was in fact the Victorian middle class ideology. Though today women are no longer thought of as not going into paid work, it is still considered that her primary duty lies in looking after the home - thus she has a double burden of her job and housework. Men however have no such responsibilities and the symmetrical family that Young and Willmott talk about in which housework is shared equally between men and women instead of men thinking that they are doing a favour by helping, will take a long time to come if it ever does come at all! These family relationships - the inequality of women in their relationships with men ( in either marriage or cohabitation) is linked to wider social and economic factors and is infact sanctioned by the power of the state. Thus gendered division of labor is a part of the 'normal' family ideals. The crisis in the family means that this gender division no longer works within a majority of the families anymore. This is the feminist explanation for the rise of a 'crisis' in the family by the media and the state. ...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. The Family As A Social Institution

    Things that our society values very highly indeed. (money and love(sex!!!) In regards to the relevance of the family in nursing we have to look at the positives and negatives of all the approaches, more so though the negatives that have a direct impact on the physical and emotional well being of a society.

  2. Assess the argument that decline in marriage and the increase in both cohabitation and ...

    This behaviour is a "social problem" in terms of its cost to the Government and so forth. What concerns us here is the relationship between illegitimacy, family breakdown and wider "social problems". In this respect, the main questions we have to ask are, Are "high rates of illegitimacy" indicative of family breakdown?

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

    " Although, there has been a substantial amount of discussion, to whether the nuclear family existed, in the Twentieth century. I intend my research to discover whether the nuclear family is still the norm is British society in 2003. Methodology In order to fully explore my hypothesis, I based my

  2. A Review of the Article "How Have Families Changed" by Diane Gittins.

    The 'Restricted Patriarchal Nuclear Family' which existed in Europe from about 1530 to 1640, was mainly distinguished by declining loyalties to member kin and communities while increasing loyalties to State and Church, both of which also encouraged to defy father/husband.

  1. Since the Industrial revelation the nuclear family has been recognised as the norm of ...

    Peter Laslett a historian who used parish records to study the make-up of households in England, during pre-industrial Britain found that the pre-industrial societies had an average household size of around 4.75 persons throughout the period. Households were only likely to consist of two generations not three.

  2. Moral Panic.

    and why we as a society had allowed it happen, it suggested the increase of public indifference, lowering family values and increasing isolation, generating massive public guilt and predicting a breakdown in the cohesive fabric of society itself. Fuelled by the press reports, people searched for reasons why this might have happened.

  1. Pitted against Patriarchy

    novel, particularly Bernard Rice, who sees himself, above all as a realist, constantly seeking to undermine the strictures of the Catholic Church, describing Hearne's oleograph of the Sacred Heart as "an idealized picture of a minor prophet."21 Indeed Bernard Rice may be seen as the one character that reflects Moore's

  2. The Family

    If these facts are accepted, then perhaps the matrifocal family can be seen as an adequate substitute to the nuclear family, and can be seen as the basic, minimum family unit and all other family structures can be seen as additions to this unit.

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