Postmodernism: Study 1
Postmodernists Beck and Beck-Gernsheim argue that the contemporary UK is characterised by diversity, variation and instability and see diversity as having a positive impact on society. For example women no longer aspire exclusively to romantic love, marriage and children. Premarital sex, serial monogamy, cohabitation, economic independence, single sex relationships and childlessness are now acceptable alternative lifestyles. Men’s roles too are no longer clear cut in postmodern society resulting in a ‘crises of masculinity’ and this has led to men redefining both their sexuality and family commitments. Therefore Beck and Beck-Gernsheim argue that such choice and ...view middle of the document...
The Rapoports would support this view as they argue that we have ‘stage of life cycle diversity’ in which families go through a life cycle, each stage of which differs from the one before and differs from other family type stages e.g. same sex family. For example, life for a newly-wed couple who do not have children will be different from the family life of a middle aged couple whose children have left home.
Postmodernism: Study 4
In support of Postmodernists, Rapoports et al have also identified the following elements of family diversity in contemporary society; organisational diversity, this refers to organisational structure e.g. nuclear, extended, single parent etc, kinship networks e.g. relationships with parents may differ to relationships with siblings and how roles are divided in the home e.g. women will do all the cooking in some households, but in others men may do all the cooking; cultural diversity the experience of family life may differ according to ethnic group; class diversity the experience of family life may differ across social classes; finally, sexual diversity in which we have same sex relationships as well as heterosexual relationships. Therefore, diversity is having a positive impact on society.
Evaluation of Study: 1
However, New Right would be highly critical of Postmodernist ideas as they tend to be conservative and believe in the nuclear family as the most natural type of family & therefore oppose diversity. The New Right reinforce the ideology of familism which promotes the nuclear family with the female homemaker and male breadwinner which contrasts with Postmodern views. The New Right would argue that family diversity is responsible for the marginalisation of men, as women are increasingly deviating from their ‘housewife role’. Furthermore, the ideology of familism views other family types and relationships as deviant and abnormal. For example, it disapproves of homosexual adoption, cohabitation, one parent families, working mothers & those who choose childlessness.
Evaluation of Study 2
However, Melanie Phillips would argue that choice and diversity is harmful to traditional family life. Phillips argues that family life is in...