Sociology - Family Unit

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SOCIOLOGY – FAMILY – STUDY GUIDE

Definitions
Types of families
Alternative to traditional families
Family diversity
Functions ( beneficial & critical view)
Characteristics of lone-parent family
Reasons for increase in lone parent families
Features of families in contemporary society
Reasons for increase in divorce rate
Reasons for increase in cohabitation
Reasons for increase in birth outside marriage

Definitions

Family: A group of people consisting of adults and their children, who live with each other. The adults are generally married.

Household: One or more people living in the same dwelling.

Kin: All the members of your family, including those related by blood, marriage or cohabitation.

Types of Families

* Extended: Three or more generations living together or in close contact.

* Nuclear: Two generations consisting of parents and children living together.

* Lone parent: Only one parent living with their children.

* Reconstituted: A family which has at least one step parent.

Also we can find alternatives for traditional family structure:

* Gay marriages
* Children who are adopted
* Homeless
* Kibbutz

Family Diversity

Main factors influencing the diversity of forms are:

* Social status
* Ethnicity or culture
* Sexual orientation
* Location

Functions
Function: (Many ways to say it the way I prefer)
* Service task that an institution carries.
* Or
* An activity carried out by an institution.
* Or
* A job or an activity carried out for a wider social structure. Family functions in traditional society:
* Socialization.
* Economic provision.
* Development of identity.

Beneficial view: State that the family is very important because it guarantees:

* Socialization: Teaches an individual hoe to abide by norms, beliefs and values of society. Families are agents of social control.

* Emotional stability: The individual need to feel that he is protected and cared. The family guarantees that security. This motivates people to work and keep stability in society.

* Economic provision: The family caters for the needs of the ones who are not economically active.

* Reproduction and sexual activity: Families are the units of reproduction of society, which guarantees the continued existence of society.

* Identity: Being born in a family is important for a person since it gives him/her a place, a name and a social status, it give an identity.

Critical view: Feminists state that the family is harmful for its members because it generates:

* Domestic violence: Members of the family are violent against others.

* Child abuse: Children are abuse by their parents.

* Emotional harm: Caused by family problems affects members.

* The explosion of women: Women are burdened with domestic labour and child rearing and they have to give up on their jobs or professional careers to perform these family functions.

Lone-parent family

In the past, the lone parent families were mostly created by the death of a parent. Today they are created mostly through divorce and unmarried mothers.

Characteristics of the lone parent family

* Mostly are led by women.

* Generally concentrated in inner city areas.

* More likely to live in poverty.

* Mothers are Less likely to be employed than married mothers.

Number of lone parent families has increased during the past years due to:

* More independence granted to women through more jobs.

* More chances in education allow them o make choices on the type of family they want.

* Divorce is seen as normal today.

* The states is more actively involved in supporting single mothers through the provision of benefits.

Features of families in contemporary society

* The decline in nuclear families.

* The increase in the number of lone-parent families.

* The...
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