Nuclear Family: Definition, Advantages & Disadvantages

6 June 2017

Using material from item 2B and elsewhere, assess the view that the nuclear family is no longer the norm. 24 marks The traditional nuclear family is defined as being a family consisting of a heterosexual couple with 2 or more dependent children (own or adopted) with a clear division of labour. Meaning the men are the instrumental role (breadwinner) and the women are the expressive role (domestic and caring/childcare).

Over time this has changed and the nuclear family as become less dominant, some sociologists agree ith this such as Rapport, however some strongly disagree and believe that the nuclear family is the best type of family, such as the New Rights. Rapport argue there’s many more factors causing more family diversity and how this means the nuclear family isn’t necessarily the norm and that this diversity represents a greater freedom of choice and acceptance of cultures.

For example cultural diversity, they say is that different cultures, religions and ethnic groups all have different structures iving in the I-JK, an example of this would be Indian ethnic groups being a largely extended family and African-Caribbean households are mainly headed by women.

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They also argue that the nuclear family is not the norm now because of life-stage diversity.

This means that family structures differ depending on the stage in their life reached, for example newlyweds with no children aren’t a nuclear family nor is a retired couple with independent children living away from home or widows/widowers iving alone, even though they may have been a nuclear family at one point, they aren’t anymore because of the stage in their life reached.

Another reason Rapport argues is of organisational diversity. Referring to different family roles, such as Joint conjugal roles and two wage earners, meaning the males and females have equality in their relationships and both go out to work, meaning they cant have the typical expressive and instrumental roles seen in a nuclear family.

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Nuclear Family: Definition, Advantages & Disadvantages. (2017, Jun 04). Retrieved December 5, 2019, from
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