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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.

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  1. Assess the view that the positions of men and women in the family have changed in the recent years

    The most obvious change within a family would be the amount of work the couple share, both in the household and outside of it. Since the 1960, where the civil rights act was released, it detailed that women were now able to work and should be offered equal opportunities as men, whereas in the past that would have been forbidden. Due to this seismic change, women are now able to provide for themselves, which in the past would have been extremely difficult as they would have essentially been dependent on their partner?s income.

    • Word count: 1036
  2. Assess the Marxist View of the Role of the Family.

    For example, if a family is from a middle- class background, the children within that family will remain rich as they will inherit their family?s wealth. If a family, however, is from a working-class background, the children would remain poor as their family?s status would be what determines their status later on in life. So, it seems as though the role of the family is to benefit capitalism because as the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. However, having said that, Engels? view of the family can be challenged by other sociologists because it is considered out of date, therefore it lacks validity.

    • Word count: 1031
  3. Mommy Wars. Working and stayathome moms are fighting it out over who is the better parent. Or, so you would think.

    Working and stay-at-home moms are fighting it out over who is the better parent. Or, so you would think. The so-called ?Mommy Wars? is not actually a war of mothers against mothers. Instead, it is a war created and propagated by the media. The media, which includes magazines, parenting books and television wants mothers to believe that they are being judged by many other mothers for their decision to either stay home or work, when in reality, it is the books, magazine, etcetera that are rocking the boat.

    • Word count: 1743
  4. Outline and evaluate the view that state policies have a positive effect on family life

    In theory, this would have had a massively positive effect on family life for all those who suffered the blight of an absentee parent; but, in practice, it was often not very effective and also focussed on fathers?an inequality that resulted in the formation of pressure groups like Fathers 4 Justice. One of Thatcher?s major changes to family life was allowing and encouraging families to purchase their council houses, this promoted a more independent family and a shift away from dependency on the welfare state; however this policy was largely aimed at the nuclear model of family, and alternative family types, such as lone-parent families, could not afford this purchase.

    • Word count: 1160
  5. Using material from Item 2b and elsewhere, assess the views that the nuclear family is no longer the norm

    Parsons also thinks that gender-role socialisation is important, this is an aspect of socialisation where the child learns what is expected of each gender. From an early age children are taught which toys and colours a boy or girl should like and what they should aspire to do when they grow up. Since children see their mother in the kitchen or clearing up, they think it is the done thing for girls to be busy with such responsibilities, and the boys learn that having a job would their role in the family.

    • Word count: 1380
  6. Families and Households. Notes on Diversity Childhood and Industrialisation.

    Argued that in medieval times after children were weaned they were regarded as adults 2. Social attitudes changed after industrialisation as society to provide special care for children. 3. The impotence of the child reinforced the importance of the mother. Pollack ? Criticises Aries as she points out that his research evidence was weak as he used paintings thus making his argument unreliable. Policies for children 1. Children?s act (1989) ? ensured protection of children from incapable and unfit parents. 2. The prohibition of the employment of children in mines and factories in the19th century 3.

    • Word count: 1918
  7. Using item A and other sources of information, examine the suggestion that the nuclear family is not a universal institution

    However there are different situations within which different groups of people may don?t be able to be within a nuclear family and this could be viewed as one of the reasons why the capitalist system in which we live and in some ways depend may be failing. Feminists and feminism would also back the view that the nuclear family is not an institution which is universal and available to everyone. They believe that the nuclear family does not benefit the society as a whole and instead promotes and encourages a patriarchal and segregated society in which other humans are shunned and seen as being lesser to others.

    • Word count: 1158
  8. Examine the New Right view of the family

    The new right believe that the family promotes decency, manners, respect for property and the law. They also believe that the new social policies have begun to undermine the nuclear family, such as welfare benefits. They believe that the government is too easy and generous with their benefits, and that this had a profound effect on the family, leading to more divorces, more single parent families and declining morals of the family. New right thinkers claim that the welfare state is leading to a culture of dependency, where society will eventually rely solely on the state.

    • Word count: 1075
  9. Over the past 50 years there has been a considerable decrease in the rate of marriage in Great Britain

    This meant that cohabitation was a rare occurrence as it was considered to be ?living in sin?, ?living in sin? would also apply to those who decided to have sex before they where married to the person. Often highlighted by those who fell pregnant before they were married, and were forced to marry before any signs showed by their parent due to fear of what the rest of the community would think, or due to there own consciousness due to fear of what there parents and rest of their community would think.

    • Word count: 1191
  10. Examine the changes in the rate of divorce since 1969

    Other factors that may have had an effect in the rate of divorce include that people marry young and that people cohabitate before getting married. The main factor for the changes in the rate of divorce since 1969 is the fact that there have been huge changes in the law. In 1969, a new act called the Divorce Reform Act meant that men and women could divorce for more reasons. This widened grounds for divorce as women were able to escape marriages if their husbands were cheating, for example, and people could escape domestic abuse from their spouses.

    • Word count: 1638
  11. Examine the main trends in births and deaths in the UK since 1900.

    Moreover with the ?baby booms? after World War 2 there have been fluctuations in birth rates with birth rates falling during the 1970?s, rising in the 80?s, falling in the 90?s but increasing in the 21 century. ?Baby booms? refers to the increase in the number of babies being born at a particular time (these especially occurred in the 20th century when servicemen would return home and the effect this has was an increase in birth rates). 2. In addition the total fertility rate that is the average number of children women will have during their fertile years.

    • Word count: 1369
  12. Assess the Functionalist view that the nuclear family is the best fit for society.

    These functions of the family still remain and are still the main function of the family institution in today?s modern society however some criticisms of this theory is that it does not seriously consider if any other family type or any social institution such as care homes, foster homes etc.? could provide these essential functions. Another criticism of Murdock id that he dose not take into account that the family is not always harmonious. This may be dysfunctional for the child so it won?t meet the function of teaching correct norms and values to the child.

    • Word count: 1064
  13. Examine the problems faced by sociologists when trying to measure how far modern conjugal roles are egalitarian.

    Feminists also disagree with this view as they say encouraging gender roles leads to inequality in the family, which could also lead to domestic violence. They also say that the ?natural? and biological aspect of it doesn?t that they?re unequal and by all means, doesn?t insinuate that men can?t do housework and women earn for the family. There are two types of conjugal roles which Elizabeth Bott (1957) distinguishes between. One being segregated conjugal roles which are when the couple have separate roles as Parsons suggest; the man being the bread winner and the woman being the nurturer, their leisure time is also separate, like their roles in the family.

    • Word count: 1136
  14. Conjugal roles - I have interviewed my grandmother Joyce to find out about the division of labour in her household between herself and her husband

    James: Did this change trough out the years? Joyce: I eventually got to work but Jon wasn?t happy. It was only a Saturday job but he made it quite clear that he didn?t like the fact I was working so I stopped. James: Were there any roles in the house shared? Joyce: No, None at all. It was not like nowadays. Jon made the fire up, looked after the fire. He would cut the grass and tackle D.I.Y but I did up the house and looked after the children. He would come home from work and I would shush the children because he was home and let them know he wanted to put his feet up.

    • Word count: 1796
  15. Assess the view that the nuclear family functions to benefit all its members and society as a whole

    George Peter Murdock, conducted his own enquiry into the family life and compared over 250 societies, and in result claims that the nuclear family was universal, i.e. that some form of it existed in every known society, and that it always performed four functions essential to the continued existence of those societies; reproductive, sexual, educational and economic. He believed they all benefit society because it is assumed without question that family members should take their place in the economy and the division of labour as specialized wage-earners, thereby contributing to the smooth running of the economy and society.

    • Word count: 1392
  16. Indo-Canadians Dominate with One of the Lowest Divorce Rates Worldwide

    Many outsiders cringe at the idea of an arranged marriage, viewing it as a forced union between two people. For decades, arranged marriages have held precedence within the Indian community. The lack of divorces within the Indo-Canadian culture was often equated with the idea of arranged marriages. Many outsiders find it hard to believe that a couple can be happy when their marriage is forced. Within the Indian community, the couple used to be given little choice as to whom they were going to marry. This stems back to the idea of the importance of family and respect Respect for the elderly was, and for the most part continues to be apart of everyday life for many Indians.

    • Word count: 1896
  17. The Family: Contemporary Issues and Debates.

    (Browne: 1998) The most common forms of the family are the nuclear and extended family groups. The nuclear family usually consists of a two generation family unit; of parents and children. The extended family is a grouping consisting of all kin. It usually consists of three generations which may include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Extended families occur more often in preindustrial societies, rather than industrial societies where the nuclear family is often seen as the more compatible family group. In the 19th century, the father/husband was the head of the family and often had a great deal of authority over the other family members.

    • Word count: 1352
  18. Examine the main trends in births and deaths in the UK since 1900.

    After the Second World War was another baby boom and that was due to the same reasons. In 1964 the rate went up again but the rate then fell back down again in the 70?s. There are many factors that determine what the birth rate is like one of these is TFR (total fertility rate) which is the proportion of women who are of child bearing age this is between 15-44 and also how fertile they are, so TFR is the average number of children a women will have during their child bearing years. Our TFR has risen in 2001 it was 1.63 and it rose to 1.84 in 2006 but this is low when it is compared to the 2.95 that we experienced in 1964.

    • Word count: 1100
  19. Assess the functionalist view that the family is functional for its members and society

    Thus allowing stability as there is individual rules and standards. Parsons argues that the particular structure and functions of a family will ?fit? the needs of society. He claims that when a society changes from a traditional pre-industrial to a modern industrial one the family changes by its structure, from an extended to a nuclear, and it loses many of its functions. The reasons for structural changes are that since the development of easy travel for all a smaller nuclear family is easier and more mobile than an extended. Furthermore tensions and conflicts would emerge if a socially mobile younger generation, achieving higher status than their parents who still lived at home.

    • Word count: 1537
  20. Assess the extent to which the traditional nuclear family is the norm in contemporary British society

    It can also be argued that other family forms can meet the needs of society and individuals. Parsons (1951), an American functionalist, argues that the nuclear family is the norm as is meets the needs of society and provides functions for contemporary capitalism by being geographically mobile. The family unit has two irreducible functions; the primary socialization of the young, involving teaching the norms and values of culture to ensure society remains harmonious and stable, and to ensure the stabilization of the human personality by providing a safe haven, using the analogy of the ?warm bath?.

    • Word count: 1675
  21. Sociology Family Revision Notes

    higher crime rates and educational failure. Views on changes; Lone parents are unnatural and harmful. Cannot discipline their children properly, burden on welfare state, leave boys without male role models resulting in higher rates in delinquency and threatening social stability. Disapprove of mothers going out to work because they believe women should make caring for their family their first priority. They see marriage as the essential basis for creating a stable environment in which to bring up children They regard both cohabitation and divorce as creating family instability by making it easier for adults to avoid commitment and responsibility.

    • Word count: 1823
  22. Sociology Family Unit - Family Concepts and Definitions

    Nuclear and Extended Families There are a number of characteristics that are associated with the nuclear family. They are as follows: It is a small compact structure that is composed of a mother, father and usually two or three children, who are biologically related. It is assumed that the relationship between the adults is heterosexual. The nuclear family is reinforced by marriage; it is assumed that marriage encourages fidelity and therefore family stability. There is a clear division in labour; it is believed that the female role within the family should be primarily concerned with the emotional and nurturing roles of motherhood and housework, and that the male function is to economically provide, to protect the family, and to act as a disciplinary role model for the children.

    • Word count: 1156
  23. Outline and discuss the view that there now exists a range of family types in contemporary society

    Different family types consist of the extended family, the nuclear family, single parent families, and reconstituted families. The extended family used to be seen as the ideal structure but it has now moved to the nuclear family. Parsons (an American functionalist) supports this but does not agree with the transition. He states that in pre-industrial societies the extended family system made it easier to carry out the wide range of functions within the family, but in industrial societies the extended family system is no longer needed as the functions of the extended family have been taken over by specialised agencies i.e.

    • Word count: 1036
  24. Assess the view that marriage is no longer a popular institution in todays postmodernist society

    As a result family life has become more diverse than even the Rapoports recognise. In today?s postmodern society there is no longer one single type of family that is dominant, such as the nuclear family. Some sociologists believe that this greater diversity and choice brings with it both advantages and disadvantages. It gives individuals greater freedom to plot their own life course- to choose the kind of family and personal relationships that meet their needs. However, a greater freedom of choice in relationships means a greater risk of instability, since these relationships are more likely to break up.

    • Word count: 1717

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