Discuss Changing Family Structures in the Uk and Give Examples of Sociological Theories That Provide Explanations as to Why and How Families Have Changed.

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Discuss changing family structures in the UK and give examples of sociological theories that provide explanations as to why and how families have changed.

This essay will discuss the various family structures in society. It will give theoretical explanation as to why and how families have changed. The essay will also bring statistical, historical and political evidence to back up the reason for these changes.

During the pre-industrial society the ‘extended family’ was the most common family structure. This family structure involves three generations including the parents, children and either the grandparents (vertical-extended) or uncles and aunts (horizontally-extended). The extended family structure was essential for this
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Divorce has also meant there are many more single-parent families. This is a family structure where only one parent takes care of the children. This can be due to birth outside of marriage, divorce and death or imprisonment of a partner. Murray (1990) would argue that the rise in single parent families is due to the underclass and fatherless families. Boys without fathers are inadequately socialised and don’t have a male role model. When they have their own children they wont have an understanding of a ‘dad’ role, so this may result in them being absent in the child’s life and separation from the wife/partner. Marx (1848) would argue that the breakdown of marriage is due to the conflict that the capitalist society is creating and this is affecting relationships. Feminist, Delphy (1977) argues that the exploitation of women’s labour is rooted in ‘the domestic mode of production’ within the household, not in the capitalist mode of production. ‘Men hold a superior position within the domestic mode of production and exploit women through marriage’ (Fulcher and Scott, 2011: 435). This exploitation could create conflict and domestic violence may occur resulting in separation/divorce. Lastly, some individuals blame single-parent families on the permissiveness of the sexual revolution. Jeffrey Weeks (1989) believes that post-war changes in capitalism has led to a new pleasure-seeking attitude in females, which resulted in sexual behaviour
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