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Family and Social Structures
Pages 9 (2259 words)
For centuries the family unit has been considered the foundation from which the rest of social structure emanates. As the bedrock of love and intimacy, it defines the human bond and exists as an establishment of connection. But while the family unit nurtures and solidifies social cohesion, it also provides rigid structures which are then integrated into the social fabric.
If we compare contemporary families with those from a century ago, the most significant difference we can note is the divorce rate. In 1911, approximately 700 families experienced divorce in England and Wales (Simpson 1994). Today that number has risen to 160,000 per year (Simpson 1994). Britain currently has the second-highest divorce rate in Europe (Simpson 1994). 55 percent of couples who divorced in 1990 had a child under the age of 16 (Simpson 1994). What, then, does this mean for the family as a structural unit Today, families continue to be less clearly defined as they must incorporate step-parents, step-siblings, half-siblings, and biological siblings or parents that are not in contact with one another. One such example is "Steve," a husband and father that Bob Simpson interviewed for his article Bringing the 'Unclear' Family into Focus: Divorce and Remarriage in Contemporary Britain. Steve is in his thirties and is married to "Karen." Since marrying in 1990, they've produced two children together. However, prior to their marriage, Karen had a daughter from a previous relationship, and Steve had two children from his marriage to "Kath," and a son from a relationship he'd had as a teenager. ...
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