Family Diversity

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Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today (24 marks) 

The nuclear family is portrayed as the perfect family on most advertising. The 'cereal packet' family, dad, mum and two kids all perfectly bronzed and all smiles usually seen on TV adverts.

Rapoport and Rapoport would suggest that this is not the case any longer due to increased family diversity. They identified five different types of family diversity in Britain. Organisational diversity refers to division of labour within the family and differences in the ways family roles are organised. Cultural diversity is diversity due to religious and ethnic influences. Social class diversity- there is differences between working and middle classes in terms of adult relationships, the socialisation of children etc. Life course diversity, as different stages in the life cycle will generate different patterns of structure e.g. newly weds have a different structure and life style to those with children. Cohort diversity refers to specific times in the past which could have had an effect on the family structure.

Eversley and Bonnerjea identified six types of regional diversity. The 'sunbelt' - the affluent south with higher class two parent families. The 'geriatric wards' - coastal areas with retired couples. The old declining industrial areas of the north- traditional extended family structures. The inner city- single parent families and ethnic minorities. The newly declining industrial areas of the Midlands- dominated by diverse structures. Rural areas- typified by extended families.

The New Right are not happy with the increase in family diversity seen above as they believe there is only one correct family which is the patriarchal nuclear family with a clear cut division of labour between instrumental (males) and expressive (females) roles. They see this family as natural and based on fundamental biological differences. The New...
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