Outline & Discuss the Function of Families in Contemporary Uk Society

1512 Words Mar 22nd, 2011 7 Pages
Outline & discuss the function of families in contemporary UK society

The definition of the term ‘family’ has somewhat gone through radical changes over the past few decades in the UK, some 30 years ago a family was defined as being father, mother and children. Some referred to this as the “cereal box family” as this was typically the type of family to be shown on television commercials for cereal. This stereotype is more correctly known as the nuclear family, however changes over the years has meant that this “nuclear family” is no longer a typical family type within the UK. This has proven difficult for sociologists to provide a clear definition or generalisation of the term ‘family’ and such difficulties will be explored throughout
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The Marxist viewpoint on the family revolves around a capitalist society and believes that the nuclear family is not a functionally necessary institution, although it is probably the best suited. However, Marxists believe that the family bases itself upon private property and profit, whereby men marry and then have children to pass on their profit to and women simply marry the men for financial security. Together, Marxist feminists also revolve their viewpoint around a capitalist society but focus more on the woman’s role, rather than heirs and profit. They believe that the woman’s primary role is based within the home and therefore can be exploited as a source of cheap labour because she is dependant on that of her husband’s income. The woman, they believe, is a housewife doing home chores to increase the father’s ability to work and thus delivering more to society. Also, by nurturing and teaching their children to become the next viable source of workers in the future, the woman is helping society and saving on capitalisation costs. This therefore lays a foundation for their children to be obedient later in life, punctual and altogether submit to their boss in later life, without the need for society training these conformities, thus having cost nothing to the capitalist.

Other reasons suggest that the nuclear family is no longer suited or even the most frequent
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