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Assess The View That The Nuclear Family Is No Longer The Norm

1214 words - 5 pages

Assess the view that the Nuclear family is no longer the norm.

The definition of a nuclear family is a family unit that consists of a mother, father and their children, who all live together. It can be argued that the nuclear family is no longer the norm but some sociologists, like Murdock and Talcott Parsons, would argue that the nuclear family is the norm. The three different types of sociologists; functionalists, feminists and new right all have different views on the family and its importance. Functionalists believe the function of the family is to socialist children, which in turn benefits both society and children. Feminists believe the purpose of the family is to reinforce the ...view middle of the document...

Murdoch’s view however is criticised for being too narrow, it doesn’t take in to account single parent or gay families. This view is also criticised by feminists due to the idea of different gender roles. Feminists point out that the family tends to benefit men more than women. Functionalists also prefer marriage to co-habitation as it is seen to be more stable however, at the moment there is a decrease in the amount of people getting married and a rise in co-habiting families this suggests the idea of nuclear family is dying out in a way as it isn’t a particularly secure nuclear family. The new right movement suggests that the nuclear family is the only one which is acceptable for the society. Dennis and Erdos argued that single-parent families fail to provide an adequate socialisation; this may lead to young people being brought up to be anti-social and irresponsible.

A recent statistic has shown that divorce is increasing in the UK this suggests that the nuclear family is indeed dying out, and no longer the norm. There is also a significant rise in the amount of single parent families; in 2007 the Office for National Statistics said children in the UK were three times more likely to live in one-parent households than they were in 1972. This suggests an increase in the amount of single parent families in the UK and therefore suggests that single parent families are becoming more frequent. It is also proved that other families that are not nuclear also work. An example of an alternative to a nuclear family is the Kibbutz. The Kibbutz is a communal form of living found in Israel. Members share economic resources. Children sleep in dormitories and are educated collectively. Another alternative family to the nuclear family that also works is the matriarchal family, which is a type of single parent family often found in urban communities and arguably more common amongst Afro-Caribbean groups. The maternal grandmother and male relatives offer support. The idea of two families in two different societies, and both ideas work suggests the nuclear family is not the norm in certain regions of the world. Another three examples of alternative structures to the nuclear family include the Nayar, an historic family found amongst a nomadic group in South India, the Gay/Lesbian family and the single parent family. The gay/lesbian family are becoming increasingly more common. The gay/lesbian family is becoming more socially accepted therefore due to this it is becoming more frequent within the UK and other parts of the world. Extended families...

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