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The Modern Family in Comparison With Family in the 19th Century

Uploaded by ar14 on Oct 29, 2001

Family is one of the oldest and most common human institutions. Since prehistoric times, the family has been an important organisation in society. Most people grow up in a family and as adults, establish a family of their own. One main type of family is known as a nuclear family. A nuclear family is made up when a couple have children, the parents and their children make up a nuclear family, in another words. There are many different definitions of what a family is. For example, Giddens defines a family as, “A small group of closely related people who share a distinct identify and responsibility for each other that outweighs commitments to others. This group is commonly, but no necessarily, based on marriage, biological descent or adoption.” Many sociologists have accepted to regard Giddens definition as accurate but too basic for a modern society. For example, he does not mention facts as homosexual marriage and common residence. Murdock takes Giddens definitions further and defines the family as, “A social group characterised by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of sexually cohabiting adults.” With respect to functionalism, Marxism, rich and poor, the changes that have taken place since the 19th century will be analysed. The growing importance of women in modern society will also be discussed.

Friedrich Engels, a Marxist, has influenced the way we look at a family. He believed that thousands of years ago the means of production were communally owned and the family as such did not exist. The nuclear family developed with the emergence of private property, which was all owned by males. In return, men needed to have legitimate heirs. So, men needed control of the women to produce these “real” offspring (whom usually hoped were sons to carry on the family name). Eli Zaretsky has also analysed the family from a Marxist perspective. He argues that the family was very much connected with the economy before the industrial revolution when work was mainly done in the home. With the start of the industrial revolution in the late 18th century and early 19th century, work grew out of the home and into the factories. As Western nations became increasingly industrialized, many rural people moved to the cities to seek factory work....

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Uploaded by:   ar14

Date:   10/29/2001

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   6 pages (1,238 words)

Views:   2726

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