Care In Contemporary Society

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Social Perspectives are different groups of people who view society in several ways. I will be discussing how Feminism and Social interactionism view society.

Two types of Feminism are liberal and radical. Liberal feminism is a personal form of the feminist theory which centres around how woman individually manage their equality through their own actions. Liberal feminists support the view that woman should be equal to men and their rights, such as being able to vote and having fair opportunities in the workplace.

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Radical feminism view society as men being on top and have the power to dominate women. Radical feminists are assertive in their outlook than the other types of feminism – their goal is to destroy the patriarchy than make changes legally. It is important to know that radical feminists are not against men as a whole, they are against patriarchy.

Symbolic interactionism is a micro approach which centres around how people and the community interact with one another within society. It is suggested that society is primarily based on how people portray it to be through communicating with others. There is an understanding within this perspective that people can portray things differently to other people and sometimes this means that people gain a wrong impression of something.

There are many factors that influence the development of family structures and roles, some include: divorce, birth control and employment changes

In 1976, a piece of legislation was made that allowed couples within a marriage to get a divorce, this is known as The Divorce (Scotland) Act 1976. This act influenced the change of family dynamics as it gave people permission to leave someone they no longer loved or wanted to carry on their life with. Some explanations for a marriage to end are adultery, inhumanity and actions which make it senseless to live with one another. Roles within the family can change particularly if the structure of the family is nuclear, for example, the father taking on the more caring role to support the development of the children as in some circumstances the mother usually takes on the more ‘caring’ role. Another impact of divorce, it may end on bad terms and the children may not see a particular parent again or their extended family.

Employment changes influences the development of family structures and roles. Having a family member made redundant can have a significant impact on the family, the family could be dependant on that income and have no other source of income, this can lead the family to having to leave their home and move in with extended family to enable them to save money and have extra support around them for childcare while they look for more work. In addition, if both parents are working and one is made redundant, the other parent may have to take on longer hours to earn more money to support the family expenses. For example, due to the coronavirus, the impact of the lockdown lead to 124,000 without work. (BBC News, 2020)

Birth control, the invention of the pill and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) influences the development of family structures and roles. The invention of the pill enabled woman to make the decision whether they wanted to have a child and build a family, previously it was the man’s duty to take care of contraception however with the pill, woman can now take that responsibility to keep safe.

In vitro fertilisation, known as IVF, is a technique that helps someone who may find it hard to make a baby. The invention of IVF enabled older people to get pregnant.

From past to present, the ideas of traditional and modern families have changed through time.

It was common in a traditional family that the male would be the one out working and the main provider for the family and the woman would be at home taking care of the children and the home itself. Since then, there has been an increase on women employment and in today’s world it is ‘normal’ for both woman and men to be working from 1971 to 2008, there was an increase from 59% to 70%, whereas men employment decreased from 95% to 79%. (Office of National Statistics, 2008). Feminists were key in making this change as they fought for equal rights between men and women and how there shouldn’t be restrictions as to what they can do because it isn’t a ‘female role’.

Family structures have also changed throughout time and there have been a variety of different structures that have been introduced due to different factors such as lower marriage rates, divorce and civil partnership. The traditional family structure is known as nuclear; this includes an adult couple with children and is still a common structure in modern families today. Some other family structures include; lone-parent, same sex couples, childless, and stepfamilies. Functionalists believe that everyone participates within society and family is key in making society what it is, as they can provide their family with support and help shape the personalities of their children which will enable their family to take part in society. No matter what structure a family has, all structures are able to participate within society.

There are many concepts which impact the role of a family, some include: norms, stereotyping and socialisation.

Family norms outline what is acceptable and unacceptable of family members, for example, the way they behave and dress. It is the role of a family to set good examples to help shape the way children act and enable them to see physically what is right and wrong. Although parents and guardians may teach them the right thing to do, when they’re not in their presence they may do things they’ll later regret however this may not reflect the way they have been brought up.

Stereotyping is how something or someone is portrayed to be based on their appearance, they make assumptions by what they see and not what they know. Family are key in passing on their knowledge to their children and they can intentionally pass on their stereotypes. If a family member expresses an outlook of people, for example people living in poverty, and no explanation is given to the child/ren then they will gain a wrong impression of people and grow up believing this is the correct way of treating people. It is the role of the family to ensure that their family know how to treat people fairly to ensure they have the information to form their views and opinions.

People experience socialisation throughout their whole life – through family members, school, friends and the media. Socialisation is the way in which people learn about the society around them. It is the role of the family to teach their children about different lifestyles and social factors as not every family will share the same views of society and it is important that children are aware that the people they will meet throughout their life won’t be the same as them. Primary socialisation enables people to know what behaviours and actions will gain approval by society and it is the role of the family to teach their family what is acceptable behaviours and what behaviours will lead to trouble.  


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