Many sociologists (e. g. Goran Therborn) argue that the typical nuclear family has disintegrated due to many different reasons, for example, the rise in feminism and women gaining more independence; higher diversity of relationships for example higher divorce rates, higher number of families co-habiting. his is because families aren’t like what they used to be. In the nuclear families today, the roles of the mother and father are no longer segregated conjugal roles. In the nuclear family today roles are changing and developing into integrated conjugal roles.
Partners are becoming more egalitarian which is leading to the nuclear symmetrical family. Due to the symmetrical family developing socialists believe the idea of the ‘new man’. A man that shares housework and the responsibility of the children. As a result of the feminist movement women gained independence, particularly within the work place. Women became more career orientated and less financially dependent on men. Marriage was no longer a necessity in order to gain financial security so many women would wait much longer to marry, if indeed they chose to at all.
People were (and are) marrying later; marriage rates decreased; divorce rates increased; cohabitation became more popular. A change in divorce laws - I think in the 70s-80s somewhen - made it much easier to be able to divorce. As a result of all of these changes, and other factors, stepfamilies have become more prevalent. 'Stepfamilies' is a widely used term for a number of different types of family, e. g. the origins of the stepfamily - was it following the death of the spouse/mother/father, or the divorce of the couple in question?
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Whilst the concept of the 'nuclear family' used to be the most dominant 'type' of family, families vary so much nowadays that one cannot refer to any single type of family as 'normal' or 'typical'. Another thing not to forget is the increased acceptance of homosexual relationships and families, in addition to the improvements in science which allow homosexual couples to have children and also the civil partnership laws which now in effect allows homosexual couples to get married. Certainly a deviation from the 'nuclear family' but people are becoming more and more acceptable of these different 'types' of families.
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.
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