Using material from item A and elsewhere assess sociological explanations of the nature and extent of family diversity today. (24 Marks)
Edmund Leach (1967) described the nuclear family as being portrayed as the perfect family in advertising. The 'cereal packet' family, consisting of a dad, mum and two children, all perfect and happy. However many sociologists question if the nuclear family is still the norm in today’s society as family diversity is continuously increasing. Rapoport and Rapoport would suggest that this is not the case any longer due to increased family diversity. They identified five different types of family diversity in Britain; organisational diversity, cultural diversity, social class, life course diversity and cohort diversity
Item A suggests, that many sociologists are divided over both the extent of family diversity and it importance. For example; functions and the New Right view increased diversity as a serious threat. This is because they believe there is only one correct family which is the nuclear family with a clear cut division of labour between instrumental (males) and expressive (females) roles. They see this family as natural and based on fundamental biological differences. The New Right argue that the increase in family diversity is the cause of lots of social problems such as higher crime rates and educational failure. They argue that family breakdown (where the family is no longer a nuclear family) increases the risks to children.
Robert Chester (1985) recognises that there has been some increased family diversity in recent year. However, unlike the New right, he does not regard this as very significant, nor does he see it in a negative light. Chester argues that the only important change is a move from the dominance of the traditional or conventional nuclear family, to what he describes the ‘neo-conventional family’. Post modernists such as David Cheal (1993) go much further. Postmodernists argue that we no...