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Recent Changes In British Society And Greater Diversity Of Family Types

2072 words - 8 pages

Recent Changes in British Society and Greater Diversity of Family Types

Recent changes in British society have led to a greater diversity of
family types, "Some writers have argued that traditional family life
is disappearing in Britain" Moore, 1987, Sociology alive. Most people
seem to view the traditional family as a married male and female with
dependant children, however family types today may include one parent
families, same sex families, unmarried parents who co habit and most
popularly families who have step relations. I intend to research and
discuss these different types of family, and the factors and changes
in British society, which have influenced them, to provide a
well-researched and informative essay.

Willmott and Young have studied family life in London for over twenty
years. They believe that the family has changed over four stages. I
have researched the four stages so I can see changes in society such
as industrialisation, and the way it has effected the family.

Stage one is the pre-industrial family, which was a close knit unit of
production who worked as a team mainly in textiles and agriculture.
The family then changed as it ceased to be a unit of production and
family members became individual wage earners. This was the early
industrial family. The family members tended to extend beyond the
nuclear family to minimise the possibility of poverty. This was more
likely to be mothers and their married daughters so women became head
of the family. This was also due to a high male death rate so I expect
another reason would be for support and comfort in case of death.

In the mid 1950's in Bethnal Green, London, Willmott and Young found
in their research that two out of three married people had their
parents living within a two to three mile radius as stage two is still
popular in areas of low income, working class families. Willmott and
Young described the extended family as "A combination of families who
to some degree form one domestic unit". Haralambos, 1990, Sociologythemes
and perspectives.

Stage three was named the symmetrical family. By the early 1970's
stage two had disappeared, this involved the "separation of the
immediate, or nuclear family from the extended family" Haralambos,
1990, Sociology themes and perspectives. Husbands and men had returned
to the family and life became more home based this included chores,
spare time, leisure and odd jobs. The family is now described as "a
largely self-contained, self-reliant unit". Haralambos, 1990,
Sociology themes and perspectives.Husband and wives roles were much
more similar in this stage than in the previous two stages and this is
the reason Willmott and Young called it the symmetrical family. They
shared more decisions and jobs in the home such as childcare and
housework although they still...

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