Critically Analyse and Evalute The Different Sociological Perspectives On The Types of Family And Households In Britain. Evaluate Their Functions And Roles. To What Extent Do They Take Into Account The Diversity of Family Types In Britain?
In this essay I will be looking at the different sociological theories as they relate to the family household, functions and roles. The socialists include The Functionalist , The Marxist, The Feminists, The New Rights and The Post Modernisms. There is an array of different family types. These include the nuclear family, reconstituted family/step family, single parent family, cultural family, and even more so in the modern times an evolution of different and alternative family types are getting more common such as gay families. The nuclear family is seen as the most traditional family type. It is one where you have a married couple with children, whereby the male is the head of the household and the sole breadwinner and the female takes on the responsibilities of the household and the care of the children. This type of family was a very common type in the early days compared to the present period in the Europe however, according to Browne (n.d), Pakistani and Bangladeshi families are most likely to live in the traditional nuclear family type. In modern days with divorce on the increase nuclear family types have been replaced with reconstituted families and single parented families. Reconstituted families consist of separated or divorced people who enter a new relationship with someone that already has children. Single parented families are one that consists of one parent that takes care of the child. According to Browne (n.d) ninety per cent of this type of family is headed by women. The nuclear family is the family type that is regarded to the Functionalist, Marxists and the New Rights as the most ideal. The main functionalists’ theories of the family are G.P Murdock and Talcott Parsons. They view the family as a tool in order for the society to function. Ken Browne (n.d) suggests that the Functionalists believe that the development of an individual is helped by the upbringing from the family. The reason why Parsons believes in the nuclear family is because he believes that the male and the female both serve a role within the family that benefits society. He believes that the female has an expressive role whereby the females’ nature is to be emotionally supportive to her children and husband, providing them with love and nurture. The males’ role is to be instrumental, whereby his duty is to be the provider of the family. Browne (n.d) suggests that Parsons states that the male instrumental role can cause stress and anxiety in which the females’ expressive role takes place in order to soothe her husbands’ tension. The problem with this view is that the functionalists do not take into account that now in modern times we have an array of family types and family roles have been reversed. For instance, it is very common now for a woman to have a job and be the breadwinner in helping maintain the family. It is also very common for men to be the main carer of the home and the children, especially when you take into account that the rise of unemployed men is high due to the recession, and as a result of this, men are actually taking expressive role into action and the female the instrumental role. And also the nuclear family is now decreasing. The tradition of children within a marriage isn’t as common as it was in the past...
Bibliography: Aiken Dave; Chapman Steve: Moore Stephen, (n.d), Sociology AS For AQA
Browne Ken, (n.d), Sociology for AS AQA 3rd Edition
New Right and Postmodernist, (n.d), To introduce New Right and Postmodernist perspectives on the nuclear family, available at: http://www.educationforum.co.uk/sociology_2/post.htm
Postmodern Sociology, (n.d), available at: http://www.allaboutworldview.org/postmodern-sociology.htm
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