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You need to write an article in which you explore the changes that have taken place within the structure of the family, which you address the influences and changing patterns in relation to; marriage, divorce, separation and child rearing.

You need to provide some analysis of the potential reasons for these changes with reference to gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships.

You also need to explore a variety of external factors that have driven change in our modern society.

Changes in Marriage

Generally a family entails a group of two or more people who reside together and they relate to each other by birth, marriage and adoption. In this article I will explain how family unit has changed starting from marriage, divorce, separation and child bearing.

There are a lot of changes which have been incurred in family unit (Strong& Cohen, 2013 p.41). To start with, there is huge change in marriage sector in family unit. Some of changes incurred in family includes;

First there is the aspect of same sex marriages is seen as a change. Many people are not married even after reaching the appropriate age for marriage. There is change in marriage and cohabitation which in real sense it has contributed to the increased number of new types of families in our society. In addition there is increase singletons which has changed the marriage system in the society (Smith, 2013 p.123).

On other hand there is increased rate of divorce within the family unit. Researchers indicates that 40% of the marriages end in divorce. This is to suggest that divorce has been identified as the main factor which has changed the family unit in society. Divorce results from various reasons. There are a lot of law Acts in different countries which has encouraged divorce. Countries like Britain has the highest divorce rate due to change in laws. On this issue of divorce we tend to identify the issue of separation. This aspect has transformed the family structure in sense that we have different people with different attitudes on family. Separation is accelerated by different morals in society. Technology and other social cultural beliefs have facilitated separation in different countries.

Also, a change has been noticed in the child rearing sector. This is to say that nowadays both men and women are used to rear children. Back in 1980s child rearing was a duty assigned to the women in society. This has transformed the family unit toextend that new family structures are now operating.

Reasons for the changes in the family structure.

Family change results from various reasons. Some of these reasons includes;

First is that there are increased legal separation laws which have been established. This means that spouse are living separately although the spouse cannot get married to other people (Gittins, 2017 p.34).

Increased use of mass media has changed the roles in family. What media is advocating for example change of those roles assigned to men and women? Now women are doing what men used to do.

Domestic labour on other hand has resulted due to increased level of literacy in the society. Women are securing big position in companies. This has resulted to change of domestic roles. Women were believed to do house work but as the society is getting more educated people you find that domestic labour is changing. Over 40 % of women are in work force.

There is also another reason which has changed the power within the society. Power relationships in family structure has changed through legislations (Edgell, 2013 p.78).  Laws are advocating for equality in sense that all men and women are equal. We not concentrating on what we used to think there before- that is fathers are not the heads of families as it was long time ago  but  currently both wife and husband have equal rights.

Rise in Divorce and Separation

External factors that have driven change in modern society.

These factors include;

Technological influence especially the social media which has both negative and positive effects to the society (Morgan,2014 p.54).That is negative effects to the children in sense that social media has changed the mental set up and declining the quality in our lifestyle.

Demographic factor which has resulted to changes in size of population which is based on different factors in society.

Cultural factors too have driven change in modern society.Through the values and beliefs we notice how cultural changes has resulted to social change in society.

The economic factor which has increased the industrialization level in the society. This has induced change in society and that’s why there is change in domestic roles in family (Hofferth, Pleck, Goldscheider, Curtin, Hrapezynski, 2012 p.61).

Political factor also has driven change in society. Laws such as divorce laws, widow remarriage and inheritance are the examples which have brought to change in society.

The section discusses the concept of functionalist,feminism,Marxism and interactionism.All these have different similarities and differences about the family and society at large (Kidd&Teagle, 2012 p.67)

Functionalist is based on the consensus and the entire order that is found within the society and focusing on the social stability and the common public values (O'Byrne,2013 p.64) .From this perspective we get to understand that deviant behaviour leads to change in sense that societal elements need to adjust so as to fit the stability needed in society or family.

Feminism basically means equal rights posed by the men and women in society. That is no one in the society is better than the other. This means that everyone in society or even within the family is equal on all levels (Pike& Beames, 2013 p.67). The perspective of this factor in society is that it has ensure equal rights and equal treatment for all sexes in the society.

Marxism tends to analyse the material conditions and other related economic activities that are necessary to fulfil human material needs thus giving room to explain a certain social phenomena in society (Aleck, 2015 p.43).The perspective to the society is assumed that economic or production process impacts on other social phenomena in the society.

Interactionism describes how individuals are shaped by the society and how they shape society itself through the entire meaning that arise in interaction. Its perspective derives the social processes such as conflict resolution, encouraging cooperation in society and checking on issue of identity formation (Agger, 2014 p.78).

Similarities in functionalist, feminism, Marxism and interactionism.

  • Both fights for the society in sense that their perspectives is to bring change.
  • Each has unique characteristic that distinguish from the other.
  • They are part of sociology factors that describes reason for the change.
  • Both perspectives operates on the macro approach in the society (Agger, 2014 p.132).This shows that they look society as a big structure or picture especially when doing investigations.
  • They utilises the structural approach –meaning that all perspectives views society as the important thing as compared to the individuals.
  • They all argue that society prepares one for a certain position within the unequal society





Functionalist interprets society to be similar with the human body-meaning that society comprises different entities that work together.

Interprets parts keenly in society so as to ensure there is stability (McLaughlin, 2017 p.89).

It agitates for the total change

Each aspect in society is independent and it focuses to contribute to stability and functioning as a whole.

Functionalist believes that each member in the society is held by consensus whereby all members in the society agrees upon and work under same goal to achieve the intended purpose.

Functionalist theory


It is based on the patriarchy approach. This is to say that society operates so as to meet the needs and wishes of the men in the society (Pike& Beames, 2013 p.87).

Women are seen as the second class in the society.

Observes gender in relation to power.

Advocates for equal rights in the society.

Feminism theory


This perspective sees society as operating solely so as to incur profits to the ruling class in the society.

It is associated with the conflict theory and the critical theory in society.

It focuses on study of politico –economic strategy.

It is seen as field of economic sociology in the society.

Emphasizes on forces of production which embraces change in society.

Marxism Theory


It derives the entire social perspective.

Believes that meaning is derived through interactions.

It states that gender is something people do not what people belief (Smith, 2013 p.323).

It derives most of the meaning from the social interaction within the society.

The goal of social interaction within the society is to communicate with other people.

In symbolic interactionism the perspective is based on human behaviour which analyses the role played by symbols in human interaction.

It emphasizes that individual’s perception of himself or herself is based on how society views him or herself.

Interactionism theory


Agger, B., 2014. Cultural studies as critical theory. Spon Press.

Aleck, M., 2015. Elite ideological advocacy: perspectives on neo-Marxian theory on education in Zimbabwe. Journal of Pan African Studies, 8(8), pp.27-35.

Edgell, P., 2013. Religion and family in a changing society(Vol. 57). Princeton University Press.

Gittins, D., 2017. The family in question: Changing households and familiar ideologies. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Hofferth, S., Pleck, J., Goldscheider, F., Curtin, S. and Hrapezynski, K., 2012. Changing family structure and men’s motivation for parenthood and parenting in the US. Handbook of Father Involvement: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 2nd ed. Taylor and Francis, Inc, pp.57-80.

Kidd, W. and Teagle, A., 2012. Culture and identity. Macmillan International Higher Education.

McLaughlin, N., 2017. Movements, Sects and Letting Go of Symbolic Interactionism. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 42(2), pp.203-210.

Morgan, D.H.J., 2014. Social Theory and the Family (RLE Social Theory). Routledge.

O'Byrne, D., 2013. Introducing sociological theory. Routledge.

Pike, E.C. and Beames, S. eds., 2013. Outdoor adventure and social theory. Routledge.

Smith, R.T., 2013. The Negro family in British Guiana: family structure and social status in the villages. Routledge.

Strong, B. and Cohen, T.F., 2013. The marriage and family experience: Intimate relationships in a changing society. Cengage Learning.

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