Using material and Item A and elsewhere, assess sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today.
Family diversity refers to any family type that is not nuclear, such as single parent families and gay couples. Family diversity is becoming more common and accepted in society. There are mixed views amongst sociologists on whether family diversity is beneficial or harmful to society.
Types of family diversity apparent in today’s society include; single parent families, which involve a single adult plus their dependent children. Reconstituted families, which result from the break-up of one family (i.e. through divorce) and the formation of a new unit through marriage or cohabitation, one or both partners, may bring children from previous units into the new unit. An increasing form of family diversity is homosexual families, this is where a couple of the same sex cohabit, they may also have adopted or biological children from previous relationships. The legalisation of Civil Partnerships in 2005 is a main reason for the increase in number of same sex families in Britain. Another type of family diversity that is greatly increasing in Britain is ethnic family units. Changes in immigration laws have led to an increase in ethnic families such as south Asian families, who have contributed to an increase in the number of vertically extended families in Britain (three or more generations living in the same household). West Indian Families have also chosen to inhabit the UK in large numbers; these households in Britain tend to have a higher number of lone parent families and matriarchal households- families led by a woman.
Sociologists have different approaches to family diversity and its importance. Functionalist and New Right argue that increased family diversity is a serious threat to society. Whereas post-modernists believe that diversity leads to greater life choices and ultimate happiness for all family members, for example, by...