Nuclear family - a basic nucleus of husband + wife and one or more children. Nuclear family is a universal social grouping - can be found in all societies.
Extended families contain kin - relatives based on 'blood' or marriage. (polygamy, 3rd generations, uncles\aunts)
Family - a universal institution with universal functions, which are vital for the well-being society:
Felicity Edholm (1982):
Nuclear family and kinship relationships are socially constructed. Relatives are not born but made.
She argues that the family is a social construction based on culture rather than biology. She rejects the view that the nuclear family is universal. Cross-cultural evidence indicates that family forms vary considerably.
Scanzoni (1989): term 'family' should be replaced with 'primary relationships' in order to include diversity in family systems.
He focuses on the nuclear famil in modern industrial society. According to him, the family has become increasingly specialised. Parsons claims that the family retains two 'basic and irreducible' functions:
- the primary socialisation of children
- the stabilisation of adult personalities
Industrialisation has led to the isolated nuclear family (isolated from wider kinship). This is because of:
- loss of functions
- the status is now achieved rather than ascribed
- geographical mobility
Dennis & Erdos (2000):
Lots of children are born outside marriage and raised by single mothers. On average, those children have poorer health and lower educational attainment than children from two-parent families. Families without fathers are not an adequate alternative to the nuclear families, because they fail to give adequate primary socialisation.
- the modern nuclear family developed in capitalist society
- monogamous nuclear family gave men control over women
Delphy & Leonard (1992):
Women make the main contribution to family life, men recieve the main benefits.
Wives rather than husbands provide emotional support (they are more likely to symphatise, to understand, to exuse and to flatter)
Wife's unpaid labour is invaluable to capitalism
Domestic violence is widespread and the majority if victims is women.
Saunders (2000) (New Right):
Explicitly favour married parenthood over all other choices for raising children.
Family diversity should be discouraged.
Government policy should support all family types.
Lewis (2001) on Labour policies:
There was no 'back to basics' but no 'anything goes' either. Labour has been careful not to condemn alternatives to the nuclear family.
Labour's policies focus on money & work - children money, parents have a responsibility to work.
Peter Laslett (1965, 1977):
He claims that his research shows that nuclear families were the norm in pre-industrial England. It's not possible to discover how much cooperation occured between kin who lived in different households.
Michael Anderson (1971):
The early stages of industrialisation may have encouraged the development of extended families.
Ann Oakley (1974):
Women were seen by many men as a threat to their employment since 1819.
Industialisation had the following effects on the role of women:
- the separation of men from the daily routines of domestic life
- the economic dependence of women and children on men
- isolation of housework and childcare from other work.
The mother-housewife role became the primary role for all women.
Young & Willmott:
Extended family - a combination of families who to some degree form one domestic unit but do not share the same household.
Stages of the family:
- the pre-industrial family - production family, cottage industries.
- the early industrial family - unity of the family is distrupted by industrial revolution. Kinship networks are extended. Men went into industrial employment. Poverty is widespread.
- the symmetrical family. 3 main characteristics: 1) nuclear, 2) home-centered and privatised, 3) the roles of husband and wife are increasingly similar. Occured through a process of stratified diffusion - new ideas of family life were started by the higher social classes and gradually filtered down to the lower classes.
- the assymetrical family, men - into work. women - into domestic responsibilities. couples spend less time in joint activities.
Goldthrope and Lockwood:
Criticisms of stratified diffusion - manual workers still retained a distinctive working-class outlook on life.
Against the concept of symmetrical family - women are still mainly responsible for cooking\cleaning.
Love is the most common reason people give for cohabiting.
The rise of divorce means that the view of marriage as a 'union for life' has less power. Some people actually give 'fear of divorce' as a reason for cohabiting.
Allan & Crow (2001):
Effective contraception made it possible for couples to cohabit with little fear of pregnancy.
Robert Chester (1984):
An increase in divorce rates reflects an increase in marital breakdown. (though he admits this cannot be proved)
Ronald Fletcher (1966):
A higher divorce rate reflects a higher value placed on marriage.
Anthony Giddens (1992):
'Confluent love' trend. This form of love focuses on intimacy, closeness and emotion,
Less close relationships with friends and relatives means demanding more from partners - leads to 'overloading' marriage.