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AS and A Level: Family & Marriage

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UK trends - gender

  1. 1 Men tend to outperform women in terms of income, wealth, promotion at work; they are more likely to have full time and /or permanent contracts.
  2. 2 In the home men do less housework than women and are much less likely to suffer domestic violence than women. Men are more likely to have control of finances and power in decision making in the family.
  3. 3 Women have better life chances in terms of life expectancy, preferential treatment by courts when awarding custody of children, some evidence of greater leniency in sentencing, more time off paid work with their children, lower suicide rates and are doing better in schools.

Key UK trends - social class

  1. 1 At work, those in the working class are more likely to have a below average paid job, a temporary contract and work part time.
  2. 2 In terms of policing and the criminal justice system, the working class are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police and to be arrested.
  3. 3 In the family people from working class backgrounds are more likely to marry younger and to get divorced.
  4. 4 In terms of health the working class are more likely, more likely to smoke, to miscarry their baby, to die of an accident at work and to die before their first birthday.
  5. 5 In education the working class are more likely to be placed in lower streams or sets at school, to leave school with fewer educational qualifications, and much less likely than the middle class to go to university.

Key UK trends - ethnicity

  1. 1 African Caribbean Britons are at high risk of being stopped and searched, getting longer custodial sentences, being excluded from school, being unemployed, living in a single parent family and achieving the lowest average GCSE scores.
  2. 2 British Bangladeshis and Pakistanis have the highest rates of poverty, living in cramped housing and female unemployment.
  3. 3 British Indians and British Chinese have higher than average educational success rates.
  4. 4 White Britons have better life chances than ethnic minorities in nearly all areas, with the exception of the British Indians and British Chinese.
  5. 5 There are significant differences WITHIN ethnic groups, so men and women, people from different social classes and ages have significantly different life chances.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 11
  • Peer Reviewed essays 1
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critically examine the Functionalist idea that the nuclear family exists for the benefit of everyone.

    5 star(s)

    Sociologists use the term 'the dark side' to refer to the negative side of the family that challenges the functionalist idea of the 'happy family' with accounts of child abuse domestic violence and divorce rate. Feminists, such as Elliot (1996) point out that there is a 'dark side' of the modern-day family. The "dark side" of the family is found in the patterns of abuse and family violence that often occur within it. Feminists argue it is based around the principles that the family contains a large amount of psychological harm for women, women do the majority of housework, even

    • Word count: 1611
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the extent to which roles within the family are becoming more equal or shared

    4 star(s)

    Also, they believe that men are the ones that usually take charge when making important decisions. This collaboration seems to have a feminist perspective because their beliefs suggest that men hold women back and do not allow them to become their own person in the way they should. A criticism is that this feminist view assumes too much, as there are many women who take charge of their lives and strive to have a life separate from the one she has at home. In addition, it seems that generally feminist resent how women have always had a lower status to men, and therefore less authority, and are not able to let go of that and accept that times are changing and women are becoming more prominent in society, especially in the professional environment.

    • Word count: 1156
  3. Marked by a teacher

    Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households

    4 star(s)

    The family meets some of society?s essential needs by socialising children. This is regarded as a basic building block of society. Murdock argues that the family performs four essential functions to meet the needs of society and its members. These include; stable satisfaction of the sex drive, reproduction of the next generation, socialisation of the young and meeting its member?s economic needs. Murdock argues that the nuclear family because of its sheer practicality is a way of meeting the four needs of society and that this can be found universally.

    • Word count: 1051
  4. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate the functionalist view of the role of the family

    4 star(s)

    Everyone in society has a role to fulfil. Doing these makes society work effectively meaning a re - function. Next Functionalists explain the family also provides the function of economic provision. The family provide a shelter, food, financial support and comfort for the sick. Without the family providing this function I don't believe society would survive as who else would be able to provide the support they already do. Society will benefit from this as people are happy as they are getting the help they need to work hard and poverty can be stopped.

    • Word count: 1521
  5. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the factors affecting the domestic division of labour and power relations between couples.

    4 star(s)

    In the stage 3 symmetrical families, conjugal roles become joint, however the wife still has primary responsibility for housework and child rearing, husbands become more involved, often washing clothes, ironing and sharing other domestic duties. Husband and wife shared responsibility for decisions that affect the family; they discuss matters such as household finance and their children's education to a greater degree than stage 2. There are many reasons as to why conjugal roles have changed over the years. Ann Oakley looked into the change being due to housework and childcare.

    • Word count: 1066
  6. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the sociological views of the relationship between the family and industrialisation

    3 star(s)

    Before the compulsory education act in 1880, the family performed the acts of primary and secondary socialisation. Working class families had high illiteracy rates. However, during the Industrial revolution the nuclear family became more dominant in society. ?Industrialism? refers to the mass production if goods in a factory using mechanisms, it was work that was centred in factories and based in cities which meant there was an increase in individuals from the extended family leaving the home to work for wage and not the basic survival as in the past.

    • Word count: 1077
  7. Definition of the Family and the increase in Divorce.

    During the eighteenth century particularly in Kerala, India there was a non-existence of the nuclear family. Women were permitted to have sexual relationship with an indefinite number of Nayar men; hence the biological father of the child would be unidentified. The responsibility of the child was taken by the matrilineal group rather than the biological father. This evidently suggests that the nuclear family is, in fact, not universal in society. As Gough conclusively observed that the existence of the Nayar family was undermining Murdock description of the allegedly universal nuclear family, fathers were excluded from residential and social units.

    • Word count: 1059
  8. Gay Marriage - persuasive essay.

    To reiterate into other words, the greatest achievement of marriage is found in the child created by that man and woman. Though one may not believe in Christ or anything to do with religion, the Church is against gay marriage because they believe that men and women were created to produce fertile offspring, a task impossible for gay couples. Most people against gay marriage agree that it can nit and should not be permitted because the female necessitates a dominant male figure to protect her.

    • Word count: 1467
  9. Free essay

    Assess the functionalist position on the role of the family. (24 Marks)

    Murdock was able to conclude that the best and most common family form was the nuclear family. Functionalist favour the nuclear family and oppose single parent and same sex families. Functionalist believe that one parent cannot possible provide for children the same as two parents can. The new right also back this idea and state that children from single parent families are more likely to end up in crime then children with both parents. They fail, however to see that there are many successful single parent families. It is not fair to say that all children from single parent families will stray towards crime.

    • Word count: 1146
  10. Examine the view that the positions of men and women in the family have changed in recent years

    They also found that symmetrical families were more popular in younger couples. They suggested that the following reasons for change in women roles e.g. jobs, gender roles in the home. It suggests that new technology has contributed towards this along with geographical mobility. However a problem with this view is when they did there example in Benthal green. There they found that extended family and workmates were more likely to have symmetrical relationship. This is a problem because Benthal green is not representative of a whole society and since the year it was done things may of changed.

    • Word count: 1019
  11. Discuss Evolutionary Explanations of Parental Investment

    is around one hundred times larger than the sperm, and she has a limited supply of these. Her reproductive life is shorter at around 30 years, limiting the total number of offspring she can produce. Following conception, her pre-natal investment continues to be large. She carries the growing foetus around for 40 weeks feeding it from her own supplies of nourishment, which uses thousands of calories. Then she must give birth and continue to invest in the baby. In the distant past this would have involved breastfeeding for at least two years after birth. Therefore her investment in comparison to the males' is substantial and her best chance of reproductive success is to ensure the survival of her few precious offspring.

    • Word count: 1110
  12. Assess the view that the Nuclear Family is no longer the norm'' - Functionalism vs. Post Modernism

    This has meant that there are more same sex couples and they now have the chance to adopt. Technology as well as social acceptance has made major advances recently so gay and lesbian couples are able to use IVF treatment. Functionalist sociologists do not believe that same sex couples would educate a child to the same extent as single sex families however studies of same sex families could not see any significant effects un terms of gender identification or sexual orientation. Weeks (1999), a Postmodernist, states that increase social acceptance may explain a trend in recent years towards same sex cohabitation and stable relationships that resemble those founded among heterosexuals.

    • Word count: 1129
  13. Assess the view that the symmetrical family exists in modern day society

    Men and women both go out to work, perhaps just a part time job, and bring in an income. This results in a more equal share in domestic labour and childcare at home. Commercialization of house work has made it much easier and quicker; therefore families spend more leisure time together. New technology and services, such as cleaners, dish washers, microwaves and child minders, have made domestic labour and childcare less of a burden so men and women have far less house work to do at home, making the symmetry between husbands and wives in families in modern day society much more prominent.

    • Word count: 1206
  14. The nuclear family is considered the 'ideal'. Why and for whom?

    This is because they view the nuclear family as a positive institution that is extremely beneficial to society by performing core functions such as reproduction, the socialisation of children and economic support by providing food and shelter for it's members - without these essential functions functionalists believe society would be faced with many problems and would not be able to function correctly. In contrast to functionalism, Marxists have a less positive view of the family institution. Marxists believe that the family serves in maintaining class differences and sees society as a conflict between the ruling class and working class where the bourgeoisie exploit the proletariat in order to keep a capitalist society that the bourgeoisie can profit from.

    • Word count: 1664
  15. Feminists have played a major part in the ideology of the family, as they provide an alternative view to the traditional sociology of the family. There are many different types of feminists; the main ones are Radical feminists, Marxist feminist and libera

    They see that the problem was caused by the law being sexist and also the differences in socialisation [way we are brought up] between males and females. To solve this we need to be socialised differently and get rid of sexist laws. * - Marxist Feminism - they believe that men and women are still unequal in society. Women are there to benefit capitalism by being unpaid housewives and having low paid part time jobs. The problem is capitalism and the solution is to get rid of it and replace it with a communist society where men and women will be equal.

    • Word count: 1048
  16. Childhood began when children became separated from adults. Involved in that evolutionary step are numerous changes accounting for this massive transformation, involving both the society and its social construction on what should be the roles of a child a

    For starters, the basic views of children were that they in essence weren't children, or more explicitly not how we view them today. They were mainly conceived by parents as a financial solution, more children equalled more hands for labour, the death rate of children was so large that the parents were less emotionally connected to the children as their life expectancy was bleak, which made it easier to see them as economic aid than adored children. If the children were not sent out by the age of seven to earn money then they would stay at home and help out in the house (blatantly indicating that school was not in motion at this period of time).

    • Word count: 1302
  17. Assess the nature and extent of secularisation in society today

    others, so people are now relying on the state rather than the church therefore the attendance of the church has declined as people don't need to go there much. Wilson attempts to provide statistical evidence of secularisation. He argues that figures show that institutionalised churches is "loosing direct influence over the ideas and activities of man" meaning that other aspects of peoples lives are more important than religion such as attending football matches rather than the church. Furthermore, Wilson points out other statistical evidence, the attendance of religious gatherings such as weddings, baptism etc has also declined in the last five decades.

    • Word count: 1237
  18. Examine the relationship between Industrialisation and the changes in the family

    Another point is that specialised agencies developed. This took over the functions of the family. Home and work became separated and more people started to earn money. The state also took over functions such as health, welfare and education. This gave nuclear families a chance to specialise in child-centered functions such as socialisation. In addition, husbands and wives had different roles. Man was made 'Instrumental leader'. This meant he was responsible for the economic welfare side of the family, the person who earns money and female was made 'expressive leader'.

    • Word count: 1403
  19. Assess the view that the nuclear family is no longer the norm

    They define this conventional family as a married couple, with a breadwinning husband and homemaking wife, based on what they believe are fundamental biological differences. They are very disapproving of any other family type and believe that they are the cause of many of today's social problems. Patrick Jenkin, a Conservative politician, doesn't think that women have a right to go out to work as men do, saying that "If the good Lord had intended us to have equal rights to go out to work, he would not have created men and women."

    • Word count: 1445
  20. Explain how and why family forms have changed in Britain.

    George Murdock (1949) found that polygamy was permitted 80% of the time. His study was based on an analysis of 250 cross cultured societies. The best known group to practice polygamy in the West are the fundamentalist Mormons based largely in Utah where the practice is illegal but prosecutions are few and far between. The Western tradition of marrying for love constantly comes into conflict with the practice of arranged marriages within the Asian communities. In Britain today arranged marriages are the norm within the Asian community. Forced marriages are however now illegal in Britain.

    • Word count: 1888
  21. Examine the reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage, co-habitation and divorce rate in the last 30 years.

    Living together as a couple, partly accounts for this. Many couples see cohabitation as a prelude to marriage. Also, they are less likely to give up their careers and independence as now women are financial independent. When our marriage doesn't live up to our increased expectations we are more likely to give up on it in search of the perfect marriage. Along with the value of individualism, this means that a sense of duty to our family has been replaced by a desire for self-satisfaction. Functionalists such as Ronald Fletcher and Talcott Parsons claim that people expect and demand more from marriage.

    • Word count: 1151
  22. Examine the extent of, and the reasons for, changes in the position of children since industrialisation.

    The French historian Philippe Aries argued that the concept childhood did not exist. He based his argument on contemporary letters, diaries and other documents, plus the way children were depicted in paintings of the time. Aries claimed that soon after children were weaned, they were regarded as little adults and treated as such. From early ages, they worked alongside adults in the fields or in cottage factories. Changes in law were one reason for changes in the position of children since industrialisation.

    • Word count: 1027
  23. Assess the view that the functions of the education system is to select and prepare individuals for their future

    They believe that education is one of the main institutions within society and that it prepares individuals for adult society. From Durkheim's key terms it shows how functionalists believe that education is a type of secondary socialisation where we carry on learning the norms and values of society and children can therefore learn the expectations of these values. According to the functionalist view we learn the values of society as a group during our education and this is called our 'collective conscience'.

    • Word count: 1248
  24. Analyse and evaluate the relationship between religion and social change

    This relates to secondary socialisation, people's morals and values have changed from 100 years ago and are now socialised into believing there are other factors that are more important than religion. As society has evolved over time, religion has changed greatly. A social movement has occurred, where as society changes so does religion. Secularisation meaning the decline of religion has helped this social movement to take place. This has also encouraged lots of smaller religions to be formed instead of just the 19 main religions. There are denominations of each main religion which form lots of different types of religions.

    • Word count: 1274

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Explain and briefly evaluate ways in which femininities are created and reinforced in contemporary society.

    "In conclusion, there are still traditional gender roles in our society that emphasise the dominance and power of men, encouraging and reinforcing that women should be more passive and domestic. However, there is more awareness today and these roles are forever being challenged, for example, the new 'ladette culture' that has come about recently, where girls and young women are taking on what has traditionally been male behaviour, ladettes involve themselves in binge drinking, casual sex and swearing. Also the 'poxy cupid' where in schools the slightest hint of sexism, is being challenged by fierce female pupils, behaviour designed to scare the teachers and even the most dominant males. Despite this, the roles we are 'taught' are still very powerful and influential because they are socialised into children from birth in the home, then reinforced in wider society, having an impact on their adult roles and personalities. Sociology - Naomi Harding"

  • Analyse the differences between primary and secondary socialisation

    "In summary, we have looked at certain key points about primary and secondary socialisation such as when they occur and what they teach us and it is reasonable to conclude that there are some vast differences between the two. Although they follow the same structure in that they both have socialising agents and agencies, there is a vast difference between what these agents and agencies teach us and what their purpose is. However, they are both vitally important when it comes to making an individual who they become in later life."

  • Using information from the items and elsewhere, assess the extent to which pupil subcultures are the cause of failure at school

    "To conclude I believe that subculture to some extend are the case of failure at school, in that a number of pupils do not value education, and focus on building a 'cool' reputation within their subculture. In most cases that means that the students with interrupt lessons and not do set tasks set by the teacher, which as a result will bring down achievement as they are not focusing on the information given by the teacher and also them kind of students are not allowing pro-school subcultures to learn because of the bad behaviour or interruptions going on in class. However I think subcultures vary in many aspects and different subcultures will have different ideologies depending where they live, their socio-class and the background they come from. Not all subcultures are anti-school, there are also pro-school subcultures, so we can not generalize subcultures. P.S I am not sure if I answered the question correctly, if not then SORRY. By Saida Murati"

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