Examine Family Diversity and the Life Course

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Examining Family Diversity and the Life Course

Many years ago, Parsons studied families from different type and decided that through structural differentiation, the multifunctional extended family became the nuclear family, and made a point of focusing on this type of family. Marxism also made this mistake, as well as feminism. What these approaches didn’t take into account was that there are many other types of family out there, which is even truer in contempary society. This essay will attempt to asses the extent of this diversity, and the explanations of it.

The first approach I will talk about is the new right. They are a very controversial collective with very right wing ideas. Charles Murray believes that family diversity is a bad thing, and that lone parent families are detrimental to society. 90% of families are patriarchal. He argues that this causes delinquency in young boys, as they have no male role model to aspire to, so they look to the streets to find one instead. This process creates and underclass who are dependant on the welfare state. However, there are people that would disagree. Feminists argue that there is very little evidence that matriarchal lone-parent families cause delinquency, and that actually they are a positive thing because they encourage and portray the growing independence of woman.

Another issue the new right have with diversity is that family diversity encourages a dependency culture. They are ague that any type of family that is unstable such as reconstituted families, lone-parent families and cohabiting families present a risk of dependency on the welfare state. This is extremely detrimental to society as the welfare state is a ‘perverse incentive’; it takes money from those who work hard, gives money to those who do nothing, and allows fathers to avoid their duty as breadwinners.

The neo-conventional family, a term coined by Chester, takes a slightly different look at diversity. Whereas he agrees that there...
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