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AS Sociology- Family

AQA Sociology unit 1

Daisy Hodgkinson

on 12 May 2013

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Transcript of AS Sociology- Family

New Right Perspective The Family Feminist Theories Social Policy and the Family -The nature and structure of the family has change considerably over time e.g. more people get divorce, one parent families, cohabitation.

-The nuclear family is made up of a husband, wife and dependent children often called the cereal packet family.

- The family socializes children into
that culture and teaches norms and
values for particular roles. -Functionalists believe that the nuclear family is essential for stability of society and passing on culture. - Murdock (1949): The family is a social group with a common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. Adults of both sexes in a socially approved relationship and one or more children. -Murdock also believed that the nuclear family was universal from research in 250 cultures. The Extended Family -Murdock saw other family types as extensions of the nuclear family. -Functionalists Bell and Vogel defined it as "any grouping broader than the nuclear family which is related by decent, marriage or adoption." -Anderson suggests that early stages of industrialization encouraged extended families. Most families in Preston were working class and without welfare relied on family for support e.g. child care. -Modified extended family: Used to describe families which don't have regular meetings apart from events but keep in contact via phone etc. -There is also evidence that there is less contact between relatives from surveys in 1986 and 1995. The most likely reason is because the increase of women working and having less time for family. -Janet Finch in Manchester found although they emphasize that family relationships are based on the attitude that this has to be done, support wasn't given automatically. -Talcott Parsons: He argues that the nuclear family has become specialized, previous functions of the family have been taken over by other institutions. -He said the family retains two functions:
>Primary socialization- teaching norms and values.
>Stabilization of adult personalities- Family provides emotional support and release from stresses of daily life. -He believed the family had these functions sexual, reproductive, economic, educational. -Like functionalists they believe that the nuclear family is the corner stone of society. John Redwood a conservative MP(1993) "The natural state should be 2 adults caring for their children."
-In recent years there has been concern about decline of nuclear family.

-Evidence: More lone parent, increase in divorce, cohabitation.

-Causes: Break down of values, too many benefits to single mothers allow men to leave, feminism devalued marriage and women outside of the home, acceptance of gay families. -Consequences: The fragmented family is no longer performing functions effectively.
-Resulting in underachieving children, anti-social behavior. Welfare benefits lead to dependency and lone mothers become "married to the state".

-Fatherless families: Charles Murray "low income males decide not to take jobs" and may turn to crime and drug use.
-They lack male role models and mother dependent on state responsibilities break down. Murray believes there is no alternative to the nuclear family for socializing children. Evaluate: - Blame the victims: Problems are not always their own making. Low wages, state benefits and other factors are beyond their control.

-Other family types are inferior: Who is to say fatherless families can't socialize effectively? Should everybody be forced into a nuclear family?

-It is an idealized view of the past: Even in the Victorian times (supposedly nuclear families); lone parents, cohabitation and sexual relationships outside marriage were common. Marxist Perspectives -The family is seen as one of the main institutions which maintain the position of the ruling class.
-The family is shaped by the needs of capitalism and how to support and maintain it. Engels argued that the nuclear family developed in capitalist society. It solved the problem of inheritance of private property and gave me greater power over women. Maintaining capitalism:
-Reproducing future workers.
-Consuming products of capitalism.
-Family provides emotional support for workers helping them accept oppression at work.
-Family socializes children into values of capitalism. Evaluate: -The Marxist view that capitalism is unjust is rejected by many sociologists.

-Sociologist generally agree that the economic system has some influence on family however most disagree that the family is shaped by its needs. -Radical feminists: See patriarchy as the main form of inequality in society. -Marxist feminists: See patriarchy as a result of class inequality. -Liberal feminists: Believe that society holds false belief that women are less capable. -Black Feminists: Believe they get less opportunities than white women and men. Domestic labour: Within the family most unpaid work is done by women. Marxist feminists argue that this is invaluable to capitalism as she produces and rears future workers without any cost. Emotional labour: Radical feminists claim that wives provide emotional support for partners. Economic dependency: Women are dependent on their husbands, in most cases the wife will give up work to care for children. Male domination: Men often control key decision making and sometimes use force to maintain control. Around 570,000 cases are reported each year in the UK. Criticisms: -Ignores positive aspects of family life: They ignore that women may enjoy running the home and raising children.
-Gender equality: There is evidence that there is now greater equality between partners and there are also househusbands. Functionalists Evaluate: -Murdock's views are value laden (sexist, against family diversity etc)

-Assumes families perform all functions (Ignores dark side of the family)

-Willmott and Young- the extended family still exists so goes against that industrialization created the nuclear family/ mobile work force. Warm Bath Theory -The family provide a warm loving environment which prevents stress from outside world. Conservative Policy -Under John Major the government showed a clear preference of married, 2 parent nuclear family.
-"Traditional family values" in his Back to Basics campaign.
-1991 Child Support Act: the main aim was to make absent fathers pay maintenance for their children.
-1996 Family Law Act: Introduced a 1 year waiting period before divorce, however this was never implemented. Labour Policy -Labour was careful not to condemn any alternatives to the nuclear family.

-In Supporting Families 1998, it suggested ways of supporting all families.

-The New Deal policy helped lone parents get back to work.

-The working families Tax Credits topped up wages of parents moving from benefits to low paid jobs.

-Sure Start provided health and support services for low income with young children.

-Child benefit increased by 26% to help families get out of poverty. The family and social change Pre-industrial society The family and social structure Farming families -Most people lived off the land and worked together as a production unit. Kinship-based societies -Many non western societies are organized in this way. Large extended families linked by marriage. For example some African societies organized on lineages who often own land and form political units, important decisions are made by a council of elders. Cottage industry -Many goods were produced by craftsmen and women in their homes, this type of production was known as a cottage industry. Defoe in Halifax (1720)- "people made cloth in every house" -The family was multifunctional: Production=economic,
Ascribed status 1700 Families in 1900s 1900 1980+ 2,000BC Industrialization There is evidence that the working class extended family continued into the 20th century.
-Young and Willmott: study of Bethnal green defined the extended family as "a combination of families who to some large degree form one domestic unit." Their study in Greenleigh also found that the family had become privatized and home-centered. Stage 1-Pre-Industrial:
The family is a production unit. Stage 2-Early Industrial:
Economic function taken over by large scale industry. Men work outside of the home and extended families are working class. Stage 3-Symmetrical Family:
Nuclear families, home-centered & privatized. Roles of husband and wife are similar.
Stratified diffusion-ideas started by the higher classes and filter down. Stage 4- Young and Willmott suggest a stage where stratified diffusion continues and another move away from the symmetrical family. Evaluate: -Suggests a 'march of progress' in which society only gets better so fail to address negative aspects.

-Stratified diffusion implies that the working class automatically follow.

-Feminists claim that the in the symmetrical family women are still responsible for housework. Changing family relationships Marriage -Since the 1970s the amount of marriages has decreased significantly from 480,000 in 1972 to 283,000 in 2005. -The number of first marriages have fallen but remarriages have increased especially after the Divorce Reform Act of 1969 and then leveled off. -Over the past 40 years people tend to marry later. This could be because of an increase of cohabitation as a prelude to marriage. -Civil Partnerships Act came into effect in 2005 granting same sex couples the same rights as married couples. Reasons why for the decrease in marriage over the past 40 years: -Secularization
-Wary of marriage
-Acceptability of cohabitation
-Women's rights- focus on career and not force into being housewives. Sue Sharpe studied working class girls in 1970 and found concerns were marriage, children etc. When she returned in 1990 priorities had changed to their career and independence. Singlehood -Some people never marry because of choice or because they haven't found the one. Creative singlehood:
-Is a positive view of singlehood and choose to remain single as a lifestyle option.
-Scase(2000) says that women embrace singlehood more than men due to stronger social networks. Reasons for an increase of 12% of living alone:
-Many are elderly.
-No longer dependent on men.
-Delaying marriage.
-Influenced by culture/
religion. Cohabitation -Cohabitation is living together as a couple without being married. Love is the most common reason(McRae). -The number of people cohabiting have increased to 2.9 million in 2011. Reasons:
-Changing attitudes.
-To get away from parents.
-Whilst at university.
-You don't have to be married to buy a house.
-Wary of marriage.
-Cohabitation before marriage. Divorce -Divorce rates have risen significantly since 1970 but are leveling out at about 120,000 a year.

Reasons for this can be
explained by:
-Legal changes
-Changing attitudes
-High expectations
-Changing position of women
-Lack of children
-Longer life expectancy Expectations of marriage:
-People no longer tolerate an unhappy marriage.
-Ronald Fletcher(functionalist) this is the reason for rise in divorce but marriage is still popular even if divorced.
-Allan & Crow found individuals seek personal fulfillment
and divorce if not found. Changes in the law:
-1857 Matrimonial Cause Act: Divorce on the grounds of adultery, cruelty and desertion but had to prove guilt.
-1969 Divorce Reform Act: Neither partner had to prove guilt and so made it easier to leave an unhappy marriage. Divorce http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21320560 Interesting article about perceptions of marriage in other cultures Changes in the position of women:
-Women trapped in unhappy marriage because they can't support themselves have few opportunities for divorce (Kurz)
-Over the past 50 years women have gained more independence and are able to work Individualisation:
-Beck(2001) said that todays society is individualised and as a result self expression and independence can put a strain on a marriage. Changing social values:
-Divorce is more socially acceptable so not afraid of stigma.
-The normalization of divorce has made it an acceptable means of dealing with a failed marriage. (Cockett & Tripp) "In the US, women of a certain age might remember a 1986 Newsweek article that said women who weren't married by 40 had a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than of finding a husband.

It created a wave of anxiety in educated, professional women at the time, and was widely quoted - e.g. in the film Sleepless in Seattle." "They don't want to take me with them to gatherings, because they don't want others to know they have a daughter so old but still not married," she says. Who divorces? Age:
In general the earlier the age of marriage the more likely to end in divorce.
-Bride is more likely to pregnant so baby puts strain on relationship.
-Money problems.
-Grow apart as attitudes and beliefs still developing. Social class:
The lower class position of the husband more likely to divorce.
-Financial problems Other factors:
-Experience of parents divorce, makes it more acceptable.
-Remarriages are more likely to end in divorce.
-Differences in class, ethnicity and religion are associated with high divorce rates. Consequences of divorce Divorce and children:
-Some see divorce as harmful and couples should try and stay together.
-Others argue that divorce frees children from a hostile relationship.

-Rodgers and Pryor (1998) Reviewed 200 studies attempting to find out if divorce has a negative effect on children.
They found that they were more likely to experience poverty, behavioral problems (bed wetting, anti social behavior).
But suggest that divorce alone does not cause these problems but association with other factors:
-Financial hardship- may influence educational achievement.
-Family conflict
-Parents ability to cope- effects care of child
-Quality of contact with parent who has left. Family Diversity Lone Parent Families Reconstituted Families Gay and Lesbian Families and Cultural Diversity Family Diversity and Society -Reconstituted families: or step families are defined as a couple with dependent children with at least one not being the biological child of both of the couple. "They can be seen as the solution to the problem of lone parenthood" (Allan & Crow 2001) -There are 72 different ways that a step family can be formed, the most common in Britain is a couple with children from the woman's previous relationship. Tensions within reconstituted families: They tend to present themselves as 'normal' families and may well become the the norm.
-Sometimes the boundaries of the family are not clearly drawn and can be fuzzy if a close relationship with the other parent continues and threaten the unit. (Allan & Crow)
-What is the role of the step parent?
-Children's resentment of sharing their biological parent with partner and other children. New opportunities:
-For the adults they offer another chance at a successful relationship. If the parents are committed to make it work then the children are likely to be happy too (Bedell 2002)

-The family expands overnight and the large family network can cause tension but also provide a wider support. Today Britain is much more complex with large family diversity.

The new right see this as concerning because it is a move away from the ideal nuclear family. - The ideological cereal packet family. Families of choice
-Many believe that they are choosing families. (Weeks)
-They are based on partnerships and friends that provides a network of mutual support. Children:
-Most studies show that children raised by gay families are no different to those raised by homosexuals (Fitzgerald) Same-sex parents:
-Lesbians have more options (sperm donors) when wanting children.Gay men have to find a surrogate or adopt. Same-sex partnerships:
-Strive for a relationship based on
negotiation and equality (Weeks) Without a partner and have a dependent child. The woman is the lone parent in 90% of cases. >Reasons:
-Ending of a marriage/ cohabitation
-Death of the partner.
-Single when pregnant
-Rather than abort
-Plan to become lone parents like Sandra Bullock who adopted a baby after getting a divorce. >Changing attitudes to lone parents:
-less stigma
-However most live in poverty. 50% of average income is spent on household costs.

New right- No male role model leads to anti social behavior and women dependent on state. Decision making Family Finances Shaping desires Division of emotional work Domestic division of labour Gender, Power and Domestic Labour History of childhood In an age of uncertainty and the end? Position of children Childhood The social construction of childhood Childhood can be seen as a social construction because it depends on that society's norms and values.

Cross cultural evidence would be similar if childhood was a natural state.
-A study of one of the Pacific Islands found that children carried out dangerous tasks when they felt ready not when adults said they were competent. (Aries) argues that childhood did not exist in medieval Europe and children were mini adults. He looked at documents, paintings etc.
-Death rates were high and little value put on children.

-By the 17th century children had different clothes to adult and went to school.
Improvements in health care and meant parents could invest more in them.

Cult of childhood: When we started to recognize children.
Century of the child: 20th century children are now the focus. >March of progress view:
-Idea that childhood has been improving.
-Victorian times children seen not heard.
-Society and media is child centered e.g. TV shows

>Marxist and Feminists:
-March of progress paints the ideal world for children and ignores inequalities.
-(Howard) Poor families are more likely to suffer illness, be shorter, not do as well at school. Nick Lee (2001):
Adulthood has become unstable and more like childhood. This has lead to increasing rights.

Neil Postman:
-Argues that the media is breaking down boundaries between adulthood and leading to the disappearance of childhood.
-He has been criticized because of exaggerating the changes, childhood is a long way from disappearing. Laws restricting child labour and becoming financially dependent on their parents. 1880- Compulsory education
1889-Prevention of cruelty to children
1989- Children Act- social services and child welfare.
1989- UN convention of child rights- health care, education, protection from abuse. Asian families:
>Nuclear families however 20% are extended families which is larger than other ethnic groups. Kinship ties remain strong (Westwood and Bhachu)

>Marry earlier than white counterparts

African Caribbean:
>Nearly 48% of families with dependent children are lone parent.

>High- lone parent, divorce, never married. Low- marriage.

Multicultural Families:
>Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim - Increase in multicultural families but different norms and values can cause conflict. 1973- Young and Willmott said families were now symmetrical so conjugal roles were similar and decisions shared. Ann Oakley (feminist) criticized as men had to only complete one household task to count in research which is not equal. Research found women:
-Still become housewives
-Have a period of full time housework
-Childcare is primary responsibility
-Have a dual shift (work+home) Evaluation:
>Time based studies- women underestimate and men overestimate
>Responsible Vs Help- responsible is more effort
>Job satisfaction- housework women do is boring and men is interesting. Partnerships and families are kept together through emotional work- love, sympathy, understanding etc. Duncombe and Marsden:
women felt it was them who provided reassurance, tenderness and sympathy. Men saw themselves as the breadwinner.
Women work a triple shift: 2)Housework and childcare
3)Emotional work 1)Paid work Division tend to favor men making decisions about money.

Money management:
Jan Pahl found some use an allowance system where man gives women fixed sum. And a pooling system equally responsible.
>Vogler found whatever system used men on top. Greater equality if woman in full time work. Partner with largest income has more say. Women make lots of decisions but men make more important decisions. Edgell found women made frequent unimportant decisions. Men had main say when moving house, buying a car.
-However research from small unrepresentative sample. Non decisions:
Don't require thought
-Women should care children. Following social norms.
Power can be seen as the ability to change what other people want for personal benefit. -Women want/ accept being housewives because the satisfaction of being a good mother and wife (Allan and Crow)
-The fact that she wants to serve shows male power. Evaluation: >Based on the assumption that it is not in a woman's interest to be a housewife, and have 'false pleasure' to disguise exploitation.
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