sociology- family diversity

Topics: Family, Sociology, Nuclear family Pages: 3 (1227 words) Published: December 4, 2013
Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today. Family diversity means that there are many different types of family in society today not just nuclear, cereal packet families. There are several different types of family within UK society. These include; nuclear, single parent, gay or lesbian, extended and reconstituted. Although nuclear remains the most common family type in the UK today with 20% of families falling into the category, other types are fast on the increase due to societies changing attitudes towards what is considered ‘acceptable’. Perspectives such as functionalist and the new right have been described as ‘modernist’. That is, they see modern society as having a fairly fixed, clear-cut and predictable structure. They see one ‘best’ family type- the nuclear family- as slotting into this structure and helping it by performing certain essential functions. Modernists are firmly opposed to family diversity. They hold the view that there is only one correct or normal family type. They see the traditional patriarchal nuclear family consisting of a married couple and their dependent children, with a clear labour division between the breadwinner husband and the home maker wife as correct. They also see a clear distinction between who should carry out the ‘instrumental’ and ‘expressive’ role in the household. For example, according to Talcott Parsons there is a ‘functional fit’ between the nuclear family and modern society. He sees the nuclear family as uniquely suited to meeting the needs of modern society for a geographically and socially mobile workforce, and as performing two ‘irreducible functions’- the primary socialisation of children and the stabilisation of adult personalities. He claims these functions contribute to the overall stability and effectiveness of society. Hence, other family types can be considered as abnormal, or even deviant, since they are less able to...
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