The Change in Family Roles in British Society Essay

Family construction and household functions within British society have changed dramatically over the old ages. This essay will explicate the alterations in the functions and relationships within the household in the last century. The reaching of the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalist economy can be seen as the chief factor which led to the alteration in household functions and construction in modern times.

Michael Young and Peter Willmott in their book The Symmetrical Family suggest that the household in England has gone through four phases: The Pre-industrial household: The household is seen as an organized unit of production ; household members worked together as a unit in the industry of agricultural points or fabrics. The early industrial household: Family members at this phase are employed as pay earners. This sort of household prevailed in the nineteenth century when rewards were low and unemployment was the enemy. The family’s economic map was taken over by big graduated table industry.

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In response. households extended their web of relationships to include relations. Womans were for the most portion responsible for this. There was a cardinal relationship between a female parent and her married girl ; by contrast the husband-wife relationship was weak. Women formed an ‘informal trade union’ from which work forces were excluded. This sort of household may still be found in long established working category countries. The symmetrical household: The atomic household has become emphasised at the disbursal of the drawn-out household and the ‘trade union’ of adult females has been disbanded. The hubby is of import one time once more within the household.

Husband and married woman portion determinations. and work together. hence the term ‘symmetrical’ . This sort of household emerged in in-between categories and spread into working categories. Work is of import in determining the nature of household life. There are five grounds for the rise of the symmetrical household. The addition in male rewards and the employment of adult females. the lessening of male mortality and unemployment rate. the addition in geographical mobility. the economic equality between partners and eventually the better life criterions pulling work forces to their places and taking to an addition in place amusement.

The Phase 4 asymmetrical household: Young and Wilmott foresee the development of a phase 4 household. which is an extension of their theory of the ‘Principle of Stratified Diffusion’ . Harmonizing to this theory. forms of life spread down the societal construction. Thus households at the underside of the societal order will copy the wonts of those at the top. Using this theory. they note that pull offing directors’ lives are work centred instead than home-centred. For such work forces athletics. such as golf. is an of import country of diversion.

The relationship has become asymmetrical once more. with the function of the married woman being to look after kids. Talcott Parsons believed that the drawn-out household of the yesteryear. where each member of the household had a responsibility to execute including kids who had to look after the aged members of their household. served a figure of maps in society. These maps have been taken over in industrial societies by specializer establishments such as the societal services and schools.

Harmonizing to Parsons. industrialization led to a move from extended households where male parents had to be the bread victor and female parents had to be the house married woman who does non hold any rights. and kids from age 8 had to be at work assisting their parents. to a atomic household. where female parents and male parents have about the same functions and rights. and where kids become less dependent and have to remain in school to the age of 16. The construction of the household has changed for a figure of grounds. The first is economic. Because more adult females are in paid work they become more independent.

Before. adult females used to be house married womans and they had no rights at all. The 2nd ground for household alteration is moral. In the past. people could non hold kids without being married. to the extent that kids born outside matrimony were given to their grandparents to look after them. or given to work houses. Nowadays. fewer people seem to subscribe to traditional spiritual instructions on household and matrimony ; hence people are free to do sexual and moral picks without any force per unit area of society. The 3rd ground for household alteration is legal.

Because of recent household jurisprudence alterations it has become a batch easier to acquire divorced. Before 1857 a private act of parliament was required to obtain divorce and merely affluent people were able to acquire divorce because of the cost involved. In the yesteryear. kid maltreatment and adult females buffeting by their hubbies were accepted signifiers of behavior and adult females had no right to kick or to take any legal action against work forces. The BMA study on Domestic Violence ( 1998 ) recorded that. 1 in 4 adult females every twelvemonth experience Domestic force and 1 in 10 adult females experience domestic force in their lives.

However. in 1990. the place office instructed the constabulary to handle domestic force the same as any signifier of force. In 1961. for the first clip. adult females were able to make up one’s mind if they want to hold kids or non and whether to hold household or non. Besides women’s precedences changed from acquiring married. looking after the household and holding as many kids as possible. Nowadays. women’s precedences are wholly different ; they want to be educated and to hold the best calling they can perchance hold.

Previously. adult females had to get by with their spouse. even if they do non acquire on good together. individual parenting was non accepted at all Today the public assistance province supports adult females and their kids if a relationship fails. Therefore. individual parent households are able to last on low incomes. which are provided by the province. This may account for the recent addition in individual parent households as compared with to those yearss when divorced adult females had no support whatsoever from the authorities.

To sum up. the last hundred old ages have witnessed a inclination towards more equality between work forces and adult females in footings of instruction. employment and legal rights. This has led to better single conditions for both work forces and adult females. However. household life has non needfully benefitted from the above. Alternatively. individual parent households. with their negative impact on kids. have increased dramatically and new less natural options to the atomic household. such as cheery associations. have appeared in society.


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