Assess sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today
Assess sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today. (24 marks) In today’s society, there are various alternatives from the typical family type. The top examples of these are lone-parent, cohabitation and reconstituted. But there are also some others such as same sex couples, single parent and multi-cultural families. There has been a decrease in the number of nuclear families in the UK and an increase in various other families such as single parent families.
But the raise in single parent households has to do with the increase in divorce across the UK which means that more people are left having to support their children on their own unless they become a reconstituted family. Functionalists are classed as modernists when it comes to their opinions on family diversity in post-modern UK. But they also see modern society as clear-cut, fixed and predictable. They think that the best and strongest family type is the nuclear family.
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The main functionalist who is focused on is Parsons.
He came up with the functional fit, which is where pre-industrial society and the extended family changed into industrial society and the nuclear family. He also believes that the nuclear family meets all of society’s needs the best unlike any of the other diverse family types which society has to offer. Functionalists see all other family types as inadequate, abnormal or deviant. This shows that they don’t think that any other family type other than the nuclear family will benefit society and help to achieve the best it can. Functionalists also believe that there is no need for family diversity on society.
They also feel that families such as single parent or same-sex families are inadequate or abnormal because they are only able to provide one side of the learning structure which a child needs when it comes to socialization because they don’t have the influence of a mother and a farther and they will only know how to fit in with either men or women but not both. The new right believes in tradition very strongly when it comes to the family and they tend to be against any and all change in society. The new right is typically associated with eh conservative party.
The new right is firmly apposed to any and all family diversity in society. The only family that the new right liked in society was the patriarchal nuclear family when they have a clear-cut division of labor within the household. The main sociologist in the new right is Charles Murray. He believes that all of the social problems have stemmed from a decline in the nuclear family in post-modern society. They also think that the main things which are happening because of the decline in the nuclear family is rising poverty, benefits, anti-social behavior and more crime.
The new right also sees that the welfare and benefits system discourages men from working and encourages a dependency culture instead of an independent culture. The Rapoports five types of family diversity believe in a variation of five types of family. The first one is organizational diversity. This refers to the different ways which family roles are organized. One example of this is that some couples have joint conjugal roles and are joint wage earners. The next one is cultural diversity.
This is where they see that families are built in different cultural, religious and ethnic groups, which means that they also have different family structures because of this. An example of this is that there are a higher proportion of female-headed families among Afro-Caribbean households. Social class diversity is the next type of family diversity. This is where there are differences in family structure due to the result of income differences between households of different classes. An example of this is the royal family compared to a lower class family. Life stage diversity is the nest type of family diversity.
This is where the family structure depends on the point at which you find yourself at any point in your life cycle. An example of this is going from single to cohabitating to married to a nuclear family. The last type of family diversity is generational diversity in society. This is where older and younger generations have different attitudes and experiences, which reflect the period of time, which they have been bought up in. An example of this is morality about divorce, cohabitation, children born outside of marriage and homosexuality may be more controversial to the older generation rather than the younger generation.
I think that the best explanation for modern British society is the Rapoport. This is because there is a large variation of diversity in UK when it comes to all of the different family types, which are around today. Most family types are accepted in post-modern society and some are on their way to being fully accepted such as homosexuality. This means that Britain has a good variety of people in society which means that they are a well developed society and are more accepting of all of the different families which are on offer.