Assess the nature and extent of family diversity in society today? (24 Marks)
Family diversity is any different family type that deviates away from the nuclear family (Two generations under one roof. Other family types include single parent families, the extended family and many others.
Throughout our lives we will find ourselves in a variety of different family types, for example when we are born we are likely to be in a nuclear family. However as we get older we might move into one person households, but when married and have children you will once again return to the nuclear family. Previously the nuclear family was the norm; however in a more modern society it is less common. If you weren’t born in a nuclear family, you would be likely to be brought up in a lone parent family, the new right a sociologists who believe in the traditional family types such as the nuclear family, they believe that all children from lone parent family types will grow up to be delinquents and drug users.
In contrast Feminists believe that the nuclear family will always be patriarchal. With increase in the divorce rates it means women are escaping oppression that may have come in a nuclear family. An example being that women are no longer performing roles, such as the triple shift. Postmodernists believe that the increase in the death rate shows that people now have a choice to take whatever path suits them. People are no longer constrained by tradition.
Postmodernists believe that society is now changed and people no longer follow tradition. Modernism is the assumption that the social world is fixed, rigid and structured an example being the nuclear family. The difference between Modernism and Post-Modernism being the thought of a breakdown in the traditional structures, post modernists also believe that the society is more fluid and is characterised by variety and diversity. There are many types of diversity, including organisational diversity (how roles are organised), cultural diversity is different cultures, religious and ethnic groups have different family structures. Social class diversity is where the different classes have different family structures.
Giddens supports the idea that families are more diverse nowadays and suggests that it is because of the increase of the ‘choice-based’ society. The main contributions according to Giddens, is the knowledge and availability of contraception and the increased independence of women. A modern society such as todays Giddens idea is becoming more evident as statistically more women are working and also the birth rate is decreasing, also increasing family diversity.
On the other hand another sociologist named Beck (1995) he believes that in a traditional society there was not as much choice and therefore decisions were easier, the outcome of this is that there has become more negotiated families, families where the decisions are made through negotiation. One of the main causes for changing family types and a greater family diversity is divorce, causing lone parent families, re-marriages and one person households. In 2001 the divorce rate was six times higher than 40 years previous to it. The main reasons for the increase in the divorce rate is the change in laws, declining stigma, secularisation, rising expectations of marriage and the change in the position of women. The changes in laws have caused three kinds of change, equal grounds for both partners in a marriage, widening the grounds, and also making divorce cheaper. The declining stigma is a negative label of social disapproval or shame attached to a person, action or relationship. As the stigma declines and divorce becomes more socially acceptable couples are more likely to see divorce as a means of solving marital problems. Secularisation refers to the decline in the influence in religion in society. Many