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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 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
  2. The history of Childhood as a social construction

    It seems inconceivable to us that the protection of innocent children is not a fundamental value in all societies, present and past. But as you will see, childhood is not simply a biological stage of development. Rather it is a social category that emerges from the attitudes, beliefs, and values of particular societies at particular points in time,2 subject to changing definitions and expectations. Parental attachment to children, therefore, is less a function of instinct than a function of how parents in a particular culture or historical era perceive their responsibilities toward their children.

    • Word count: 1803
  3. In what ways are families good for society?

    Children are the focus of responsibility in the husband and wife?s life, they are their main priority! So why exactly is it important to look after children? If parents look after children in the right manner, then their attitudes and behaviour will be shaped in a positive way. It is also obvious that they are too young to possibly look after themselves as they do not have the motor programme in their mind to know exactly how to do that.

    • Word count: 1147
  4. To investigate how the ideology of childhood has changed over the years, I interviewed my granddad who is in his 60s,

    However, no matter how many toys, recent gadgets, new clothes a child is given is it really any consolation to the loss of quality time with their parents? Money does not grow on trees, and in recent years percentage of both parents having to work has increased dramatically, you are far less likely to see a stay at home mum but two working parents that won?t even be home by the time their children get home from school. It is said that children have become more independent?

    • Word count: 1051
  5. Describe and discuss the Functionalist perspective in relation to the family.

    Functionalists believe that this division of labour in a domestic setting is beneficial in the family, in wider society, and beneficial to men and women themselves. They see the family as positive for society. Functionalists believe that the nuclear family is a positive group that is beneficial to society - they look at the functions that the nuclear family performs for the good of society as a whole. These functions include: 1. Reproduction - the family has a child/ren which means the human race continues.

    • Word count: 1324
  6. Examine the reasons for the changes in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last 30 years.

    Although 95.1% of British women still marry before they are 49, it has become more acceptable to choose not to get married, and rather than being looked down on, single women are more likely to be viewed as strong, focussed, and independent. This means there is less pressure on couples to marry quickly, and so has also affected the rise in cohabitation. Society no longer views marriage as the only definition of a serious relationship, and this has given credibility to couples choosing to cohabit instead.

    • Word count: 1682
  7. Assess sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today

    The last type of family diversity is generational diversity; older and younger generations have different attitudes and experiences that reflect the historical periods in which they have lived. For example, they may have different views about the morality of divorce or cohabitation. Modernist approaches to the family such as functionalism and the New Right emphasise the dominance of the nuclear family type in modern society. These approaches take a structural or top down view; they see the family as a structure that shapes the behaviour of its members so that they perform the functions society requires.

    • Word count: 1364
  8. Examine the reasons for changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last forty years.

    The following evidences? given above greatly illustrate how the idea of marriage has been idealised and also somewhat diminished from society in the last forty years. In recent years there has been a significant fall in the number of first time marriages, with the figures substantially declining from 480000 in 1972 to 306000 in 2000. Further evidence suggests ?the average age of first marriage rose by seven years between 1971 and 2005 when it was 32 years for men and 30 for women.? The statistics show that a vast amount of people are putting off marriage until later; with one

    • Word count: 1384
  9. Examine the Effects of Maternal Employment on Infant Development.

    This paper will examine these different effects on infant development whether they are positive or negative. There are two sides to this argument as expected for any issue in debate. I will discuss these two sides by using the arguments of researchers that have studied this topic and written articles on their opposing feelings on maternal employment. I will summarize separately these two researchers' different views along with their findings. After I have summarized some of their findings I will be presenting my own personal view on this topic. The authors arguing the yes side of this debate are, Jay Belsky and David Eggebeen.

    • Word count: 1646

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