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Gender and Society - Essay Example

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Scholars (Giddens 1993; Roseneil 2007) argue that in contemporary society, intimate relationships are undergoing radical changes. There is a growing debate in studies about women, gender and social change, about contemporary intimate lives, the family and its future, key changes in the composition of family membership, decline in size of families, and the forces that drive change. The drivers of family change in British society include increase in numbers of employed women from the mid-20th century, women’s emancipation, widespread use of contraception resulting in smaller families, changes in social norms promoting acceptance of alternative family forms, changes in family law, and the greater role of love and romance in married partnerships. In contemporary society, changing family structures depend on the different arrangements of people comprising the family. These include the nuclear, the extended, the lone-parent and the reconstituted families. Different forms of the family may also be based on social factors such as social class, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, or location; and the relationships between them (Walsh, Stephens & Moore 2000). Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the sociological approaches and theories that inform the phenomenon of the changing family in Britain. The Analysis of Contemporary Intimate Lives In the present day United Kingdom, a diversity of types and different forms of the family exists. The contemporary family is characterized by diversity in the context of economic and social status, ethnicity, location and sexual orientation. The family is a dynamic unit in which there is a constant process of change, as members marry, age, die and divorce. These changes lead to a shift in the relationships between the family members, as for example parents change from being providers and educators to being grandparents either dependent on their grown children or living independently. Two different approaches to the family include the ‘New Right’ and the feminist positions. For the New Right, “the family is a place of love and affection and an important provider of informal welfare” (Walsh et al 2000, p.189). For feminists, the family is a patriarchal domain, and an institution benefiting men rather than women or children. Well-known sociological theorists such as Anthony Giddens, Ulrick Beck, Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim and others have explained the emergence of a new social order of ‘reflexive modernity’ which according to them has led to a transformation in society. That is, in the post-traditional society there is greater individualism as against earlier communalism, with men and women “progressively freed from the roles and constraints associated with traditional social ties, are compelled to reflexively create themselves through day to day decisions” (Gillies 2003, p.9). Further, structural frameworks forming the basis for heterosexual partnerships have become weak, with feminism causing increase of women in the work force and their consequent financial independence, besides greater numbers of divorces, decline in marriage and in fertility rates. Ordinary women as well as feminist groups, according to the sociologist Anthony Giddens “ ...Show more
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Gender and Society: Intimacy and Personal Relationships SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACHES ON HOW THE FAMILY IS CHANGING IN BRITAIN Name of University/ Institution Class: Professor: Submission Date: Gender and Society: Intimacy and Personal Relationships SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACHES ON HOW THE FAMILY IS CHANGING IN BRITAIN Introduction “A family is a group of persons directly linked by kin connections, the adult members of which assume responsibility for caring for children” (Giddens & Griffiths 2006, p.206)…
Gender and Society
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