Sociological Explanations of the Nature and Extent of Family Diversity Today Essay

540 WordsNov 7, 20143 Pages
Sociological Explanations of the Nature and Extent of Family Diversity Today In our modern society, there are different types of families including, but not limited to, the nuclear family, single parent family and divorce-extended family. This has caused sociologists to argue about whether this is a bad thing for society. Functionalists and the New Right argue that without pre-set roles in families, for example the male breadwinner and female homemaker, society would fall apart. These groups argue that the family that best serves society is the nuclear family consisting of a father, mother and dependent children. Opposed to this, feminists and postmodernists argue that the shift from the traditional family to the family today is a good thing because it provides individuals more choice and allows them to pursue their own wants and needs. For example, Weeks (2000) argues that a family does not have to be comprised of biological connections and instead is ‘socially constructed’ by the people involved. And Stacey (1998) agrees with this by arguing that families such as divorce extended families provide the people involved with the freedom to choose the family arrangement that best suits their needs. Sociologists have attempted to explain increasing family diversity. For example, Rhona and Robert Rapoport (1982) argue that there are five reasons for family diversity in today’s society. These include the following: • Organisational diversity. This refers to how a family is organised around family roles, for example around divisions of labour involving work or caring for children. • Cultural diversity. Diversity may also be caused by different cultures, religions, and ethnic groups organising families differently. • Social class diversity. This involves differences in class, for example low-income families might adopt different child rearing practices to
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