Sociology of the family

Sociology of the family

Sociology of the family is the study of the family unit from a sociological viewpoint. The examination is dominated by social class, gender and ethnicity analysis. Further sociology of the family views the effect of social change on the family.

Included in this type of study are the number of children in the family, their relative ages, their racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, the economic level and mobility of the unit, the education levels of the family members, what spheres of life are important in and to the family unit, and all of the intereractions of the family unit, society, culture and with each other.

Sociology of families is also concerned with the diversity of family forms in contemporary societies in relation to ideology, gender differences, and state policies such as those concerned with marriage.

Sociology studies families and their formation, Sociology studies social change and trends surrounding the family such as,
* Increase in sole occupancy dwellings and smaller family sizes
* Average age of marriage being older
* Average number of children decreasing and first birth at later age
* The historical pattern of fertility. From baby boom to baby bust (instability)
* The ageing population. The trend towards greater life expectancy.
* Rising divorce rates and people who will never marry. [Bittman, M. and Pixley, J. (1997) "The Double Life of the Family, Myth, Hope and Experience". Allen and Unwin, Sydney.]

Sociology of the family examines the changing roles of family members. Each member is restricted by the sex roles of the traditional family, these roles such as the father as the worker and the mother as the homemaker are declining, the mother is becoming the supplementary provider and she retains the responsibilities of child rearing. Therefore the females’ role in the labour force is “compatible with the demands of the traditional family”. [Ibid., Bittman (1997)] Sociology studies the adaptation of the males role to caregiver as well as provider. The gender roles are increasingly interwoven.


ee also

*Extended family
*Family law
*Nuclear family
* Family (economics)

External links

* [ Family Facts: Social Science Research on Family, Society & Religion] (a Heritage Foundation site)

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