Using material from item 2B and elsewhere, asses the view that the nuclear family is no longer the norm. A nuclear family is today seen as only one of many family types in modern day society, there are many different variations. Some sociologists say that nuclear families is and should remain the norm, whilst others believe that society is now too diverse to simply have only one family type. A reason in particular that nuclear families are no longer the norm is That, divorce rate has increased. Research shows that now 40% of marriages now end in divorce. This leads to lone-parent families and re-constituted families.
The increase in divorce may be due to the fact that the independence in women has risen. Within the 1940’s women were seen simple as housewives and mother, an education within their life wasn’t even thought about. Whereas today women now are just as likely to go to higher education as men and therefore this gives them much more status and in dependence, also the fact that women gained the right to vote e due to Emilie Pankhurst also increased their reputation consequently now they feel that the can ‘live on their own two feet’ without the financial support from a male role.
Feminists support the increase in divorce rate as women do no longer have to rely upon a male role to succeed within life. Feminists believe that the family exploits women as they serve the men which oppress the women. However the Marxist group argue that the independence in women is a bad thing, as it is causing a rise in divorce which is almost half of all marriages per year. Marxist sociologist Fredrian Engels states that ‘women are a mere instrument for child production. Marxists believe that society is divided into two classes and that you should just live with your ascribed status, which for women is to maintain their stereotypical role of being a housewife. They believe that’s how women should still be seen within society. Furthermore another basis that nuclear families are no longer the norm is that, there has been a rise within cohabitation. This may be because couples fear divorce, as 40% of marriages now end in divorce they may not want to go through the process of it. Also the fact that a marriage is a very expensive event they may feel that they would just like to live together.
A Marxist would argue that cohabitation is incorrect as it is not fitting to their theory on how society should work where women maintain their stereotypical role as when there is no legal bound as male an female then rightfully the male should not foresee authority and dominance over the women, and they are not bound down by a male role. However cohabitation could be seen as a ‘pre-run’ for a nuclear family as they would like to see if being a family would be a correct move and it would foresee any future problems.
Another reason that nuclear families are no longer the norm is that there has been a rise in step- families. Research shows that 10% of marriages whom have ended in divorce then re-marry into step-families. A reason for this maybe because of societies changing attitudes, meaning that couples are now under less pressure and if their marriage doesn’t work out there is fewer stigmas on divorce. A New Right would argue that this is incorrect for society to work as they believe that society is broken and will only work if nuclear families are the norm and that is how every family should live.
However step-families could be seen as a nuclear family as they have a mother and father within the children and although the siblings aren’t blood related this does not erase the fact that it is similar to a nuclear family they just so not share the same parents. If the mother and father within the family are loving and caring then a step-family maybe a better option than a nuclear family as the nuclear family must have had reasons for divorce and consequently it could have caused the child physiological harm.
The final reason that a nuclear family is no longer the norm is that there has been an increase in single parent families and consequently families are much more diverse. 24% of families are lone single parent and are generally the mother with her children. ‘Item 2B states that there has been an increase in lone-parent families and also the same sex families. ’ The increase in lone-parent families maybe again due to the fact that the independence in women has increased and consequently women feel they can emotionally and financially supports a family by their selves. A unctionalist would agree that lone-parent families is acceptable as they feel that everyone has their own purpose in society know as the value consensus and therefore if lone-parents feel they are capable to withhold a family by their self then functionalist see no problem in this. Conversely many still see the nuclear family as still been the norm as 70% of people aspire to marriage which more than likely lead to a nuclear family. Within the media a nuclear family is portrayed constantly as it sates in item 2B ‘a cereal packet presents a nuclear family as it shows a married couple and two children who are the couples’s biological offspring.
The husband is the main breadwinner and the wife is primarily concerned with housework and childcare. ’ A New Right sociologist that this is correct way to live as society is broken without nuclear families as. They state that it worked in pre industrialisation and it should be the norm again, as everyone in society had a set role and therefore they know their purpose. This is similar to the functionalists view although they don’t agree on any type of family so long as society is working correctly. The New Right believe that the breakdown in families leads to less respect for authority.
They have been successful for impacting on social policy and consequently I feel that the New Right has had an influence on the ‘Cereal Packet Families. ’ However a feminist would argue that nuclear families been the norm is incorrect as males exploit females and have a constant dominance and authority over them and feminists believe this is wrong. To conclude is nuclear families are no longer the norm. I think that they aren’t as society is now too diverse. the New Right and Marxist theories are outdated and if society was too be all nuclear families again I think that may lead to a break down in society.
I feel that the majority of the theories are outdated and society has moved on for example, with the feminist’s view they feel that women have a very stereotypical role within family life and exploited, but today in modern day society most women go out and work and are seen as closely equal to men. Consequently everyone should just accept that in modern day society everything is changing and society should move with it. If couples want to co-habit or be the same sex families then it should be allowed, if it works then why not? After all it may work better than the stereotypical role of the nuclear family.