Family Diversity – Sub Topics, Key Concepts and Short Answer Questions

An overview of topic 3: the family household and diversity topic within AS Sociology (my own version of how I break up this massive topic!)

Since the 1960s, post-modern society has been characterised by an increasing amount of family diversity, and this topic looks at how families and households have become more diverse, why they have become more diverse, and perspectives on increasing family diversity.

For this part of the course you need to be able to explain the reasons for the increase in the family and household types listed above and be able to analyse the social significance of these changes from different sociological perspectives. You also need to be able to examine and assess the extent to which families, households and relationships vary according to social class, ethnicity and sexuality.

Sub Topics

3.1 – The underlying causes of the long term increase In Reconstituted families, Single parent families, Multi-generational households, Single person households and ‘Kidult’ households.

3.2 Perspectives on the social significance of the increase of all of the above.

3.3 – The extent to which family life varies by ethnicity, social class and sexuality.

3.4 Evaluating the extent to which the nuclear family is in decline.

Key concepts you should be able to apply

  • Reconstituted Families
  • Individualisation
  • The cereal-packet family
  • Blended Family
  • Beanpole Family
  • Multi-generational Household
  • Forced Marriage
  • Polygamy
  • The Rappaport’s five types of diversity
  • there are many other concepts you can apply from the perspectives topic

Possible exam style short answer questions

  • Using one example explain one challenge reconstituted families might face which traditional nuclear families might not (4)
  • Outline three reasons for the increase single parent households (6)
  • Using one example explain one stereotype that is often associated with single parent households (4)
  • Outline three reasons why single parent households are twice as likely to be in poverty compared to nuclear family households (6)
  • Outline three reasons for the increase in single person households (6)
  • Outline three reasons for increase in multi-generational households (6)
  • Using one example explain one way in which family life may vary by ethnicity (4)
  • Outline and briefly explain two ways in which family life might vary by social class background (10)
  • Using one example explain why some Sociologists claim that the decline of the nuclear family has been exaggerated (4)

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