Explain The Extent Of And Reasons For Family Diversity In Today’s Society

2014 words - 9 pages

Natasha Helps
Sociology essay:
Explain the extent of and reasons for family diversity in today’s society

Over the years society and family structure has changed in many different ways. In the 18-1900s society was in the modernity era where people believed that there was one family structure that had a clear cut predictable structure and anything other than that was seen as wrong, this family structure was called the ‘Nuclear Family’ which was a family which consisted of two generations a man and a women with dependant children of there own or adopted. But from the 20th century to nowadays has changed to the post-modernity era, where diversity and change are now celebrated, because it ...view middle of the document...

They strongly disapproved of lone-parent families saying it was unnatural and were a welfare burden and a perverse incentive of benefits encouraging irresponsibility and dependency to younger generations; they thought cohabitation and divorce caused instability. Marriage was essential for creating and bringing up children properly.

‘The Sociology of the Past’ 1985 the view of the traditional family structure changed slightly, when Chester recognised that there has been an increase in family diversity over the years, but he does not see this as a negative occurrence. He argues that the only important change is a move from the presence of the traditional nuclear family to what he calls the ‘neo-conventional family’. Chester means by the ‘neo-conventional family’ that it is a dual earner family in which both spouses go out to work.

Rapoports disagree with Chester because unlike Chester they argue that family diversity is of key importance in understanding family life today. They believe that we have moved away from the traditional nuclear family as the dominant family type to a huge range of different types. They say that families in Britain have adapted to a more pluralistic society- one in which lifestyles and cultures are a lot more diverse. They believe that having family diversity gives greater freedom of choice and a lot greater acceptance of different cultures and ways of life. They see it as a big response to people’s differences like in what they need and what they wish to have and so its not seen as abnormal from the assumed norms of the nuclear family. They believe that there are five different types of family diversity;
Organisational diversity: the way different family roles are organised.
Cultural diversity: different culture, religions and ethnic have different family structure.
Social class diversity: differences in family structure are partly the result of income differences between households of different classes.
Life stage diversity: family structures differ according to the stage reached in the life cycle.
Generational diversity: older and younger generations within one family.

Perspectives changed in the early 1900s when the postmodern era became current and a lot sociologist’s ideas changed to be more excepting of diversity. In 1993 People like Cheal who said we no longer live in a ‘modern’ world with predictable structures, we live in a chaotic ‘postmodern’ stage, family structures are fragmented and individuals have much choice and the freedom of choosing their own life course, but one thing he did say that with greater freedom of choice means greater risk of instability. Other postmodernists disagreed with the different traditional family structures like Barrie Thorne who said that ‘The Nuclear Family’ with the breadwinner husband and the full time mother is not the only legitimate family form, saying that focussing on the idealology of ‘The Nuclear Family’ neglects structures of society that lead to ...

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