The Family Basic Concepts • Family: is a group of persons directly linked by Kin connections, the adult members of which assume responsibility for caring for children. • Kinship: ties are connections between individuals, established either through marriage or through the lines of descent that connect blood relatives. • Marriage: it can be defined as a socially acknowledged and approved union between two adult individuals. • In virtually all societies we can identify what sociologists and anthropologists call the Nuclear Family , two adults living together in a household with their own or adopted children. • In most traditional societies , the nuclear family was part of a larger kinship network of some type. • Monogamy • Polygamy 1. Polygyny 2. polyandry Many sociologists believe that we cannot speak about the family as if there is one model of family life that is more or less universal. WHY? • Two-parent family • Step-parent family • Long-parent family The Family in History • Sociologists once thought that prior to the modern period , the predominant form of family in western Europe was of the extended type. • In England throughout the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, the average household size was 4.75 persons. The current average in the UK is 2.4. Factors that made family groups impermanent than now: • Rates of mortality • Infants did not survive beyond the first year • Women frequently died in child birth. The Development of Family Life • Lawrence Stone has charted certain changes leading from Pre- modern to Modern forms of family life. Distinguished three phases in the development of the family from the 1500s to the 1800s. 1. In the early part of this period , the main family type was of Nuclear Family. • As Stone puts it , the family during this period ‘was an openended , low-keyed , unemotional , authoritarian institution,……it was also very short lived , being frequently dissolved by the death of the husband or wife or the death or very early departure from the home of the children’ 2. This type of family was succeeded by a transitional form that lasted from the early seventeenth century to the beginning of the eighteenth. This latest type was largely confined to the upper reaches of the society. • There was a growing stress on the importance of marital and parental love, although there was also an increase in the authoritarian power of the fathers. 3. In the third phase , the type of family system we are most familiar with in the west today gradually evolved. This family is a group tied by close emotional bonds, enjoying a high degree of domestic privacy and pre occupied with the rearing of children. • It is marked by affective individualism , the formation of marriage ties on the basis of personal selection. Read • Quote by John Boswell- pg. 205 Changes in The Family Pattern Worldwide • There is a diversity of family forms today in different societies across the worlds. • The origin of these changes are complex. • One is the spread of Western culture. • Development of centralized government. • Peoples lives being influenced by their involvement in a national political system. Recent Developments • Clans and other Kin groups are declining in their influence. • There is a general trend towards the free selection of a spouse. • The rights of women are becoming more widely recognized. • Arrange marriages are becoming more common. • There is a general trend towards the extension of children's right. • There is an increased acceptance of same sex partnership • High level of sexual freedom is becoming more common. Read • Pg.212-216 Inequality within the Family • Balancing Work and Care • Housework • Intimate violence • Child Abuse • Domestic violence • Relation between social class and domestic violence? Divorce & Separation • The first ‘ no- fault’ divorce laws were introduced in some countries in the mid 1960s. • In the UK, the Divorce Reform Act , which has made it easier to for couples to obtain divorce , was passed in 1969 and came into effect in 1971. • Between 1960 and 1970 the divorce rate in Britain grew by a steady 9 percent each year, doubling within that decade. • Lone Parent Household: have become increasingly common in recent decades. In the UK, the proportion of people in lone-parent, one family households increased from 4 percent in 1971 to 12 persons in 2003. • Overwhelming Female category and are the poorest groups in contemporary society. • Lone parent hood tends to be a changing state, and its boundaries are rather blurred. • The Absent Father: Time from 1930-1970 is referred to as period of the absent father. • With rising divorce rates in more recent year, and the increasing number of lone parent households, the theme of the absent father has come to mean something different. • Sociologists and commentators have seized on the increasing proportion of fatherless families as the key to a whole diversity of social problems. Changing Attitudes to Family Life • Substantial class differences affect reactions to the changing character of family life and the existence high levels of divorce. • Lillian Rubin interviewed the members of thirty –two working class families in depth. • According to her middle-class parents tend to be more traditional. • More conflict present in this particular class.