Unit 1 Families + Households

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UNIT 1 FAMILIES AND HOUSEHOLDS
Time allowed: 1hr
Total marks: 60

Item 1A
Recent decades have seen major changes in families and households in the United Kingdom. Some sociologists argue that, with the rise of the symmetrical family, the patriarchal power of the husband has disappeared and relationships have become more equal and democratic. However, feminists argue that women still have a dual burden to carry. There have also been many changes in the patterns of marriage. For example, the number of first marriages in England and Wales fell from almost 340 000 in 1970 to just over 161 000 in 2004. On the other hand, the number of remarriages has remained relatively constant since the early 1970s. Equally striking have been the changes in patterns of child-bearing and child-rearing. For example, a growing proportion of children are born to unmarried parents. Forty per cent of births now occur outside marriage – about five times the proportion in 1971.

Item 1B
Many sociologists see the state’s laws and policies as having an important effect of family roles and relationships. For example, in some countries, the state has pursued policies aimed at encouraging couples to have more children by restricting access to contraception and abortion, lowering the age of marriage and so on. By contrast, in China, the state pursues a ‘one child’ policy, in which couples are offered incentives to limit their family size, such as lower taxes and preferential treatment in housing and education. Sociologists have differing views about the impact of state policies on family life. For example, some see state provision of welfare benefits as harmful because it undermines the family’s ‘natural’ self-reliance and promotes dependence. Others regard many policies as maintaining the subordination of women or children.

a) Explain what is meant by the dual burden Item A, line 4 (2 marks) b) Suggest 2 reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage in England and Wales Item A lines 8-10 (4 marks) c) Suggest 3 patterns in childbearing and or rearing since the 1970s, apart from those mentioned in Item A. (6 marks) d) Examine the relationship between changes in the family and industrialisation (24 marks) e) Using material from Item B and elsewhere assess the impact of state policies and Laws on family life. (24 marks)

Jan 08
UNIT 1 FAMILIES AND HOUSEHOLDS
Time allowed: 1hr
Total marks: 60

Item 1A
Before industrialisation, many families worked at home in farming or cottage industries such as textiles. While each member of the family had their own ascribed status, these small units of production nevertheless involved all members of the family – men, women and children – cooperating together. However, with the arrival of large-scale industry in the late 18th century, work shifted from the home to the factory, mine or textile mill. Initially, this new form of production also involved all members of the family, but gradually women and children were excluded by law from many occupations and found themselves increasingly dependent on the man’s wage. Some sociologists argue that, during the early industrial period, the working-class extended family flourished because of the advantages it offered to its members. Subsequently, however, the family gradually became more ‘symmetrical’.

Item 1B
For functionalist sociologists, the family is a key social institution. They see it as performing vital social functions that help maintain social stability while at the same time meeting the needs of all its members. For example, Murdock (1949) saw the family as reproducing the next generation and socialising them into the shared culture. He also saw the family as meeting its members’ economic needs and satisfying adults’ sexual needs in a way that does not disrupt social order. However, many sociologists claim that functionalists present far too rosy and uncritical a picture of family life. For example, feminists and Marxists argue...
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