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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. Examine the ways in which social policy and laws influence families and household

    But then again this might be a bad thing because in this society they'll be no more perfect nuclear family. Now the divorce law is fair because both sexes can get a divorce now before only the men can divorce. In the UK there is a massive increase on SPFs therefore they would need help with money and work. For example job seeker allowance or child benefits to help with the child care. Getting the funds for the SPFs might be a good thing for example single mum would need help with child care or the daily needs for their children.

    • Word count: 910
  2. Roles in the family - review of the views of major sociologists.

    However, in both classes few men had a high level of participation in housework & childcare. Stephen Edgell & in the British Social Attitudes Survey - more sharing of child rearing than household tasks. Movement towards a more egalitarion household division of labour with time. More households were men did most of the washing & ironing, cooking, cleaning, shopping & washing up. Repairing household equipment -only type of task usually done by men. Mary Boulten-although men help; women retain primary responsibility for children.

    • Word count: 854
  3. 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
  4. Examine Changes in the Patterns in Childbearing and Childrearing in the UK since the 1970s

    In 1991-3, 40% of mothers in lone mother families had never been married compared to only 18% in 1973-5. Over the same period the percentage that was separated or divorced was fairly stable, at 55% in 1991-93 and 61% in 1971-3 (Kiernan et al.1998). Divorce has replaced widowhood as the main cause of lone motherhood. The growth of cohabitation also contributed to the rise: it is estimated that a fifth of cohabiting unions produce children, and about 50% of unions with children break down. Since the war, women have now had the right to vote, opportunities to reach further education and are now being paid to work.

    • Word count: 895
  5. 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
  6. Family

    Social class can be measured through different measurement scales based on occupation and status. When defining someone's social class, there can be issues caused by the variables involved. These are wealth, income, social status and power and are objective measurements. There are measurement scales such as the Registrar General's scale and sociologists are more inclined to use Goldthorpe's model of the British class structure. The NC SEC 2000 scale is the most modern measurement of social class. There have also been changes over the years affecting social class.

  7. 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
  8. Assess the view that marriage and family life benefit men more than they benefit women.

    Feminist's believe in equal rights and legal protection for women. They believe women should not be pressured into staying at home to do housework and childcare by themselves. Instead they should go out and get a job and have a social life just like their husbands. However, functionalists believe in the nuclear family, parents and children, and anything outside of that family are dysfunctional, for example, single parent families, gay couples. In the traditional nuclear families, the roles of husbands and wives are segregated. Parsons' functionalist model of the family sees a clear division of labour between spouses.

    • Word count: 871
  9. Sociological Explanations For The Increase In Divorce Rate

    Having a divorce will no longer affect your career, as it would have done so in the past. So people today are more likely to get a divorce out of an unhappy relationship, or carry on in an empty shell marriage. Secondly, secularisation, people are less religious today, so they do not pay as much attention to the religious consequences. Marriage, perhaps, is seen as a less sacred ritual now and is more of a personal commitment rather than a religious one. Today only around 45% of marriages today happen in a religious environment and the church do not view divorce as seriously as they used to.

    • Word count: 653
  10. Assess The Ways In Which Social Policies And Laws Affect Family Life

    These changes in social policies have enabled gay families to live a happy and equal life. The gay community have fought, even physically in riots, the Stonewall riots of 1969 for an example, for these rights for over fifty years and these changes have now put this to rest. The United Kingdom is part of the European Union within their directives and legislations there is "The Social Chapter" this refers to parts of the treaty which deal with the equal treatment of men and women and the regulation of working time under the Working Time Directive.

    • Word count: 958
  11. 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
  12. Examine the view that nuclear families didnt exist in the UK before the industrial revolution

    Parsons decided that only the nuclear family could provide the necessary structure needed to aid the working life. Moreover, the functionalists Wilmot and Young found that, during pre-industrial times there was a mainly agricultural society, so the most common type of family structure was that of a classic extended family. Wilmott and Young also found that the family type became nuclear during the industrial revolution. This was because as industry progressed, people moved away from their families to find work, so the family decreased in size and became nuclear, this was known as the theory of functional fit.

    • Word count: 559
  13. 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
  14. There are many factors why family and household patterns have become more diverse in the United Kingdom since the end of the Second World War;

    In 1961, approximately two people divorced per every thousand people in the UK, in 1987, this figure rose to approximately 12 per thousand. It has also become cheaper to become divorce on average around �13000 per divorce. Divorce has now become more socially acceptable. Divorce used to carry a "stigma," 'People these days are far less likely to put up with empty shell marriages (Fulcher, J & Scott, J (1999).)' Remarriages rose by about a third between 1971 and 1972, following the introduction of the Divorce Reform Act 1969 in England and Wales, and then levelled off.

    • Word count: 744
  15. Assess the view that marriage remains a patriarchal instituation

    In 1973 Young and Willmott claimed that the division of labour within the home was becoming less segregated. This means that household tasks would be shared out more equally and that the roles of the husband and wife would be more integrated. There are various explanations for this, including women being less financially dependent upon their husbands due to employment; improved rights of women and their status in society and better standards of living encouraging men to spend more time in the home with their families. Research proves that men do more domestic work now than previously, namely Gershunny and Laurie's study which showed that hubands have taken on more domestic labour now women work.

    • Word count: 890
  16. Assess the view that working class underachievement in education is the result of home circumstances and family background.

    Peter Laslett concluded that kinship based families and the classic extended family were the only two possible forms of pre-industrial families. He also found that from the mid 1500's to 1800's, only 10% of households contained kin beyond the nuclear family. He believed that due to short life expectancies and people marrying later in life, the gap between the death of a parent and the marriage of their children was short and meant that diverse family types did not exist.

    • Word count: 893
  17. Examine the reasons for the changes in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last 30 years

    To accentuate this, in the early 1970's, approximately 67% of British women in their late twenties were in wedlock with at least one child; this percentage dropped to 33% by the mid 1990's. The British Social Attitudes Survey performed in 1998, came to the conclusion that, only 8% of the individuals interviewed actually thought that having a 'sexual relationship' outside of marriage was 'always wrong' (Sociology REVIEW). The most common form of marriage within the United Kingdom is that of 'Monogamy' and this being established by law as an individual being in wedlock with either one spouse or husband at one given moment.

    • Word count: 2635
  18. 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
  19. Examine The Criticisms Of The View That The Increase in Divorce Is Due To Easy Availability

    Divorce is too expensive so people just choose to live separate rather than signing the divorce petition. Eg. A couple that want a divorce can't financially afford one therefore they choose to live separate. This helps financially divorced couples to go their own ways and provide financially for their children even if this means not legally getting divorced. It is much cheaper to do it this way and saves the couple from tensions arising from the money matters of divorce a reason for this, Thrones and Collard's 1979 view that women expect far more from marriage than men and in particular they value friendship and emotional gratification more than men do.

    • Word count: 983
  20. Marx and functionalist role of education

    This system lets 'social mobility' happen, this is when there is movement between the social classes. The Functionalist sociologist Parsons (1950s) sees school as an important unit of secondary socialisation, taking over from the family as children grow older. He argues schools provide a bridge between the 'particularistic' values, (this is when children are treated as special individuals, and judged differently by every one else outside of the family.) and the 'universalistic' values where the same rules apply to everyone.

    • Word count: 874
  21. Discuss the view that the modern family is becoming more diverse

    Murdock defined the family as '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' (1949). Murdock saw the nuclear family as the core with other modes of family branching from that, for example, the extended family where grandparents or other close relatives live in the same household or nearby. However, Kathleen Gough(1959) documented that in the Nayar society, girls before puberty were ritually married to a suitable Nayar man in the tali rite, and however once after the marriage the tali husband is under no obligation to live with his wife or to have any contact with her.

    • Word count: 2196
  22. Using material from Item B and elsewhere assess the view that it no longer makes sense to talk about the Patriarchal family(TM).

    However now in 21st century the amount of time parents spend with their children has more than doubled since the 1960s and children's welfare is seen as the major family priority. Feminists claim that families are essentially Patriarchal (dominated by men). Several sociologists have looked at how and by whom decisions are made in families. Sociologists such as Stephen Edgell in 1980 carried out a study in which he found that wives dominated decision making in interior decoration, children's clothes and spending on food.

    • Word count: 971
  23. 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
  24. 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

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