Using material from item A and elsewhere, access sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today. Families today are becoming increasingly more diverse and there are different sociological views from different groups such as, rapoports, functionalists and feminists. The rapoports believe in the importance of family and how important it is in society today. And see diversity as a very important and made to help people in needs and wants. Unlike functionalists who believe in the traditional family ( the nuclear one ).
They believe that we have moved away from the dominant nuclear family type, to a range of different ones that are more diverse. These include: Organisational are when the roles in the family are organised and given out to the husband and wife. Cultural, where there is difference in culture, religion and ethnicity. These have created family structure, like multi-ethnic, and female headed households. Social class, where the income differences between households of class differences in child rearing practices. Life stage, the family structure that differs in age, from newly wed – retired.
And finally generational, older and younger generations a have different attitudes and experiences that reflect the historical period in which they live. And contrasting the rapoports belief, new right and functionalists appose family diversity. This is because they only believe in one type of family working in today’s society, the nuclear. This consists of a male husband and female wife living together with dependent children. The supporters see the nuclear family as “neutral” and and the other family types are seen as dysfunctional and unnatural.
This also links to new rights claims that lone parent households cause juvenile delinquency. There have been different theories and ideas explaining roles in the household. Talcott Parsons explained different roles to fall into two different categories, instrumental and expressive. Instrumental roles were geared toward men and achieving success at work to be the breadwinner. And the expressive roles were ones associated with women and and the primary socialisation for children and meeting the families emotional needs.
And that these were down to biological differences in men and women. As women as the nurturing one and the male as the provider. There are a few problems with this theory though, and the main point to be made is that this was thought up in 1955 which was a very sexist time in history and is quite out dated. Because now we have women gaining more rights and working in higher paid jobs. Changing what families are today and how they have changed. Item A talks about Chester arguing that the conventional family has changed to the “neo-conventional” family.
This is when you have a family that has a dual earning and both people go out to work. And although he accepts that thee is family diversity, he doesnt think its very significant, and the importance of family diversity has been exaggerated. And like functionalists he sees the nuclear family as the most diverse, the only change is that it has moved to a neo-conventional one. And he believes that most people aren’t choosing to live differently to the typical nuclear but it is down to the life cycle.
To which Chester identifies different patterns: cohabitation has increased, but is mostly just a temporary phase before marriage. Post-modernist influenced approach from Stacy argues that free choice benefits women and frees them from a patriarchal oppression. And she said that even in interviews in the past, women have started to rejected their roles in the housewife-mother role. Morgan 1996 argued that the functionalists aren’t right. And families can just fit into just one family type with increased diversity, and that the life theory analysis was best suited to explain today’s society.
Giddens says that marriage has been transformed in recent years, from having greater freedom and choice, and it has become more equil. This is due to factors such as contraception and women’s independence. Contraception allows sex for intimacy, rather than reproduction as as reason for a relationships existence. And women’s independence has great-end, with growing opportunities in jobs and at work. Therefor families and couples are free to define there own relationships, rather than simply acting out roles.
This is all good but Giddens does go on to say that with all this free choice, a lot of relationships have become less stable as either partner can end it at will. Weeks says that there has been a long-term shift in attitude since the 1950’s, and people’s sexual morality has become largely a matter of choice. And family diversities are a widely accepted fact. Family diversity is now ever changing and is impossible to point out a clear dominant family type or see the traditional nuclear family being most popular.