Family diversity

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  • Family diversity
    • Views of the nuclear family
      • Functionalist:nuclear is the best family type and is essential. Other family types are not as good because they cannot perform vital functions
      • Feminists: nuclear family acts to uphold patriarchy
      • New right: nuclear family is the only correct family type and all others are harmful to society as they promote social issues
        • Disagree with cohabitation
      • Marxists: nuclear family acts to uphold class inequality
    • The neo-conventional family - Chester
      • Nuclear family is still seen as the ideal but due to life cycle people may not always be in a nuclear family
        • They have been in the past or will be in the future
      • Characterisedby dual earner household
    • The Rapoports and family diversity
      • Social class diversity:  differences due to income and social class
        • E.g needing to live in a beanpole/extended family due to inability to afford childcare or a place of their own
      • Generational diversity: differences due to changing attitudes towards family types
        • E.g young more likely to be same-sex or divorce due to decreasing stigma
      • Cultural diversity: differences dependent on religion, culture or ethnicity
        • E.g Black Caribbeans living more in lone-parent; Asian living more in extended
      • Life stage diversity: differences based on the stage of life an individual is in
        • E.g widow likely to live in one-person household/ single-parent due to death of husband
      • Organisational diversity: differences in the way roles are organised
        • E.g dual earner and joint CR vs lone earner and segregated CR
    • Post-modern families
      • Individualisation thesis (Beck and Giddens)
        • Traditional structures of class gender and ethnicity have lost so much influence and now family types are chosen based on one’s own desires
          • We are now ‘disembedded’ from the traditional roles
      • The pure relationship
        • Giddens argued that the pure relationship is achieved when the needs of each partner are satisfied by the other
        • When this does not occur/stops occurring, the relationship ends
      • Stacey
        • Matriarchal households are more common - women are now more in charge, control changes and reject the housewife role
        • ‘Divorce extended family’ is a new structure in which a divorcee remains in contact with the ex’s family
      • The connectedness thesis
        • We live within a web of relationships and personal histories which are influencing of our family types and future relationships
    • The personal life perspective of families
      • Families and family diversity cannot be generalised due to the very individual nature of a family type. This can change both in and across social groups
        • E.g some black families may be lone parent, other amy be extended due to their social class


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