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Flashcards in 5 Family Patterns And Family Diversity Deck (18):

Divorce- 40%
6x more than 50 years ago

1 Legal changes- made it easier and cheaper e.g. 1949 legal aid introduced
2 Less stigma- stigma= negative label. E.g. Most churches condemned it. But changed since 1960s. More acceptable and common normalises it.
3 Secularisation- decline of religion on society. Wilson- religions losing influence e.g. Church attendance rapid decline
4 higher expectations of marriage, functionalists like Fletcher 1966 says this leads to more divorce. Linked to ideology of romantic love: marriage is based purely on love not economic factors. Family used to be unit of production, so people had lower expectations and weren't dissatisfied by absence of love. Functionalists optimistic as high remarriage shows marriage not rejected
5. Women's financial independence- more women i paid work. Lone parent welfare available. Less economically independent so can afford divorce.
6 feminist explanations women wage earners creates new conflict. At work equal at home expected to perform triple shift. = patriarchal oppression awareness result in divorce explains 70% divorce petitions from women
7 beck 1992 and Giddens 1992- in late modernity traditional norms lose hold. Free to pursue self interest. More divorce results.
Modernity encourages both to pursue career ambitions and adopt a free market, consumerist identity based on self interest.


Partnerships- marriage
Reasons for fewer first marriages

-> changing attitudes mean less pressure to
-> alternatives like cohabitation less stigmatised
-> women's economic independence gives them freedom not to marry
-> feminism impact means women see marriage as patriarchal
-> rising divorce rates put people off


Other marriage trends

More re marriages as more divorcees available to remarry giving rise to serial monogamy

Later marriages young spend longer in education and cohabit first

Fewer church weddings as secularisation and some mot marrying divorcees


Partnerships cohabitation

1.5 million in england and wales cohabit
Less stigma attached to sex outside marriage
Women's improved economic position- don't need financial security of marriage
It may be
Trial marriage- cohabit before marriage now norm
Alternative to marriage- marriage may be seen as patriarchal so opt for cohabitation as more equal relationship


Gay marriage same sex relationships

There's greater acceptance, moves to legal equality and policies treating all couple equally- marriage and adoption rights.

Weeks 1999 argues acceptance is leading to more stable relationships among gays


Parenting - half all children born outside marriage.
5x more than in 1971

a quarter of all families.
Numbers tripled since 1970 as increase divorce and decline of stigma of births outside marriage.

New right blame generous welfare benefits encouraging increase and creating a dependency culture.

Over 90% are female headed due to belief of women suited to expressive role and courts giving mothers custody.


Reconstituted or step families

Increasing due to divorce and re marriage.
8% of all families with children.
Mostly children from woman's previous relation.
They're at higher risk of poverty- more children and support children from previous relationship.


Ethnic parenting differences

More black lone parents 49% of families, whites are 23% Asian 11%
-> may be the legacy of slavery, result of high male unemployment or black women valuing independence higher

-> larger asian households due to cultural importance of extended family and need for support when migrating.


The extended family- functionalists

Functionalists argue in modern society the nuclear family replaces the extended.
X willmott 1988 found it still exists as a dispersed extended family, where relatives maintain frequent contact.


Extended family obligation to relatives

Finch and Mason 1993 found half their sample had cared for a sick relative.
Reciprocity (balance) important as people felt help received should be help returned.

More expected of daughters than sons. Not all daughters play equal part, depends on other responsibilities they have.

Extended family continues to perform important functions e.g. Financial and domestic help. Different to parsons one whose members lived together and bound by mutual obligations


The extended family- perspectives on family diversity

Changing family patterns leading to greater diversity. Wide family types rather than nuclear.



Modernist sociological perspective.
Sees conventional nuclear family with division of labour based on biological differences. Sees them uniquely suited to modern industrial society and members.


New right

More political.
Influenced government policies.
Conservative view
Opposes diversity
Conventional nuclear family = only normal natural one
X feminists argue they're social constructs- they're justifying patriarchy

Other family types seen as unnatural and producing social problems e.g. Lone parent family lack adult male role model and lead to dependency culture and delinquency. Generous welfare benefits encourage deviant family types.


Chester neo-conventional family

Chester 1985
although some increase diversity, nuclear remains dominant

Only important change been from the conventional family, with male breadwinner to neo conventional family, where both spouses work like the symmetrical family

The nuclear family remains the norm most aspire to. Most still marry raise children as couple and don't divorce.
Cohabitation increased but temporary phase
Most divorcees remarry
Most not currently in nuclear family either have been or will be


The rapports: 5 types of diversity

Rapoport & Rapoport 1982 disagree Chester
See diversity as central today.
Diversity meeting people's needs not causing family decline. 5 types:
1 organisational- joint or seg conjugal roles
2 cultural- ethnic groups diff fam structures
3 class- differences in child rearing practises
4 life cycle differences- pensioner couples, parents with young
5 generational differences- attitudes to cohabitation


Postmodernism and family diversity- high family diversity/ due 2 greater individualism and choice

Individualisation thesis
Giddens and Beck
Individual self interest now governs our actions
In past, people's lives defined by traditional gender and family structures, with fixed roles that prevented them choosing their own life course. Expected to marry play conjugal roles in patriarchal family. Provides stability by defining each member's role.
Today, become disembedded from trad family structures, leaving us free to choose how we lead our lives. Giddens 1992 argues one reason for this is greater gender equality
Giddens argues these changes brought about the pure relationship. Rather than relationship defined by law or tradition its solely to satisy partner's needs. It lasts as long as it meets needs.


Individualisation thesis
Negotiated family

Beck argues equality and individualism created negotiated family.
Not fixed but varies to members wishes.
More equal than patriarchal but less stable.
Need of individuals than family - free to leave if not met


Connectedness thesis

Personal life perspective
Smart 2007
-> traditional patriarchal norms and structural inequalities still limit choices about relationships, identities and families. E.g. Women's powerlessness compared with men mean many trapped in abusive relationship

-> not disembedded. We make decisions about relations within a social context or web of connectedness. Challenges pure relationship e.g. Parents who divorce remain linked by their children often against their wishes