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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 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
  2. Using materials from Item A and elsewhere assess the contribution to our understanding of functionalism on families and the household.

    They both believe that all people benefit from a family and that the family performs three vital functions. The first is primary socialisation, where children learn basic values, norms and roles (consensus). The second is stabilisation of adult personalities (warm bath theory), whereby adults should receive emotional support and relief from the outside world. Yet this ideological theory that men come home to a relaxing environment is out dated and no longer relevant to today?s society due to women working now. Finally the last vital function is the control of sexual behaviour and reproduction. Murdock argued on the basis of his studies that the nuclear family was a universal social institution and that it existed universally because it fulfilled four basic functions for society: the sexual, reproductive, economic and education functions.

    • Word count: 987
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Trends in births and deaths in the UK since 1900

    The birth rate then rose in the 80?s. In the 90?s the birth rate fell again-again, probably due to women choosing to work more rather than play the role of ?stay at home mum? .As the position of women slowly started to change and they became more equal to men, it was more acceptable for them to be well educated, laws started changing to ensure women were paid just as much as men in same-role jobs and also the ease of access to abortion and reliable contraception allowed women to have more control over their fertility.

    • Word count: 844
  6. Gender roles/expectations that exists in contemporary Japanese society

    Young people, travelling abroad and then coming back to Japan begin to be more flexible and more elastic in this strict Asian country. They bring new waves, new feelings and new experiences, so it is natural, that little change towards the equality between man and woman is coming also. Then the old generation is less flexible than young Japanese people ? attitudes are changing, but their behaviour is not. Nowadays, we can see optimistic alterations, for example, some sociologists claim that with the rising problems faced by the Japanese economy, there have been changes in the structured patterns of gender in both the family and the workplace.

    • Word count: 2578
  7. Discuss theories of breakdown of relationships

    This theory says that when a relationship is not equitable; fair, it will lead to breakdown of a relationship. The under benefitted person in the relationship as well as the over benefitted are both unhappy, however the under benefitted person is most unhappy. Van Yperen and Buunk (1990) support the equity theory as a theory of breakdown. In their study of 259 couples, they found that relationships which were inequitable was unsatisfactory and this eventually led to breakdown of the relationship, therefore equity is needed in a relationship otherwise it will breakdown. This shows that the equity theory is correct.

    • Word count: 859

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