sociology and the family

Topics: Family, Marriage, Nuclear family Pages: 5 (1747 words) Published: December 15, 2013

You will refer to statistical evidence when discussing the variety of family and household types. You will be required to reference your work throughout and produce a correct and current bibliography to demonstrate that you have used different sources to obtain your information.

Sociology and the Family

The Nuclear Family generally consists of a Mother, a Father and at least 1 child, this image of a family is thought to of come about at the time of the Industrial Revolution. (Willmott and Young) believe that an increase in the Nuclear Family was the result of the Industrialization. They found that during pre-industrial times, the most common type of family structure, was that of the Extended Family (Extended Family can take form of either a) Vertical Extensions - including other generations such as parents of the spouses, or b) Horizontal Extensions - consisting of people from the same generation as the spouses such as the wife’s sister {Blacks Academy}). The studies of Willmott and Young found that the Nuclear Family became more popular during the Industrial Revolution as more people moved away from their families to find work, therefore, family size decreased and became Nuclear.

During pre-industrial Britain, (Browne) explains that the extended family was a unit of production, meaning that the family home was also the workplace and the families produced the majority of the goods that were needed for survival. Each member of the family would have their own roles and responsibilities within the family to make it a working and productive family. Children would learn the skills required from their families and would almost certainly follow in their parents footsteps. Families during these times were also solely responsible for the health and wellbeing of their children, which resulted in them being poorly looked after due to poverty and health. Education and Socialisation in children were also the sole responsibility of the families, before compulsory schooling was introduced in Britain in 1880, resulting in extremely high illiteracy rates. Since the Industrialization in early nineteenth century Britain, work has now moved on from the family homes, to Factories and offices. There is no longer a need for families to produce all the goods that are required for survival, they now go out to work for wages which allows them to buy the things they need, making them consumers. The majority of children will no longer learn working skills from their parents, but at Government training schemes, workplaces and colleges. State Education Systems now meet the needs of teaching children the required Educational and Socialization needs, meaning that although families will still play a large part in their children’s social structure, it is no longer their sole responsibility. Government run services such as Hospitals, GP’s and Nursing Homes, will now play a large part in the caring and medical needs required for people of all ages, again, taking the sole responsibility away from the family. All of these factors have played a part in the decrease of the extended family (Browne).

The Nuclear Family is now on an all time worrying decline, this is due to many factors, including; Cohabitation, Divorce and the diversity of modern family types. This decline is common not only in Britain, but also in South Africa, questioning whether the decline is actually due to the Industrialization in Britain (iolnews). In 2006, only 22% of all households in Britain, consisted of ‘Cereal Packet Families’ (Data from Labour Force Survey) whilst in South Africa, this percentage is even lower, although still the majority, standing at 17.7%. (iolnews) More and more children are being brought up in either Lone-Parent Families or Reconstituted Families, suggesting that Divorce is on the increase, Unemployment and the Recession could also be an added factor, as (Blakesaune) shows evidence on the links between Unemployment and Relationship Breakdown....

Bibliography: Blakesaune, M. ISER accessed on 29/09/13
Browne, K. (2008) Sociology for AS AQA 3rd Edition, Cambridge, Polity Press, pg 176/ 172/ 177
Eddy, G. Holborn, L.
iolnews, accessed on 29/09/13
Macsi, D. Gay Marriage around the world, accessed on 29/09/2013
Martin, D. (2012) accessed on 29/09/13
Morgan, P. (2003) Sociology Themes & Perspectives 8th Edition, Haralambos & Holborn, London, Collins. Pg552/553
ONS (2008) Office for National Statistics, Divorces in England and Wales 2011/2008, an overview of 40 years of data (general lifestyle overview) accessed on 29/09/13
Palamuleni, M.E. Recent Marriage patterns in South Africa 1996-2007,
SSA. Statistics South Africa. accessed on 29/09/13
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