Assessing the View that Family Diversity is Leading to a Weakening of Traditional Family Values
Given the culturally diverse character of the United Kingdom today,
there are considerable variations in family and marriage within the
country. The structure of families has altered over time and is still
changing today. Changing relationships between spouses in the family,
and in particular, the changes in the position of women in the family.
The family in the UK today reflects a range of factors, including
Britain as a multi-ethnic society, differences in social class, and as
a society in which women choose or are forced to head families by
themselves. A significant section of the population chooses not to
marry at all; are these people posing as an alternative to the family?
A definition of the family is a group of persons directly linked by
kin connections, the adult members of which assume responsibility of
caring for children. Kinship ties are connections between individuals,
established either through marriage or through the lines of descent
that connect blood relatives (mothers, fathers, offspring,
grandparents, etc. The nuclear family is traditionally defined as a
basic family unit of adult partners and their own or adopted children.
The extended family has been defined as 'A grouping broader than the
nuclear family which is related by decent, marriage or adoption. (Bell
and Vogel, A modern introduction to the family). The family has
evolved to a variety of new family types within the last century.
(Laselett, The World we have Lost), The family in pre- Industrial
Britain was nuclear and not extended as once thought. The other major
characteristic, primogentive - the term used to describe the situation
where the eldest child (or more usually the son) inherited all land
and property from the parents. This had two consequences according to
(Harris, The Family). Ownership of land stayed intact and the male who
inherited was likely to be well off and that the sons and daughters
who did not inherit formed a mobile labour force which went in search
for employment. (Parson) and, separately (Goode, World Revolution and
Family Patterns) claim that the Industrial Revolution weakened the
extended family by taking away crucial economic and social functions
from the family. However an alternative approach from (Anderson,
Approaches to the History of the Western Family) who has argued that
early Industrial family actually helped to form extended families.
Using data from 1851 Preston Census, Anderson found 23 percent of
household members contained family members other than those in nuclear
There are a number of factors that have contributed to the increasing
diversity of family and household forms; every...