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Section A

Answer question 1.

1 In his 1949 study George Murdock claimed that some form of family existed in all societies. This was based on his examination of 250 societies. Murdock defined the family as a social group that shares a residence, co-operates economically and produces at least one child. This child (or children) is the offspring, whether own or adopted, of two adults in an approved sexual relationship who are from the social group. Within this definition Murdock allowed for a great deal of family diversity in the structure of the social group. The smallest family group, as identified by Murdock, is the nuclear family.

Murdock’s work has given rise to a great deal of debate within sociology as to whether the family is universal, or not, and if households which do not fit into his definition can in fact be called families.

(a) What is meant by the term family diversity? [2]

1 mark for a partial definition such as when there are lots of different types of families or answers that list different types of families.

2 marks for an accurate definition such as when there is a range of family structures.

(b) Describe two examples of households which do not fit into Murdock’s definition of the family. [4]

2 marks available for each example. 1 mark for identification or development only, 2 marks for identification and development.

Points that can be included are matrifocal or matriarchal families (or specifically named families such as the Nayar), same sex families, childless couples, empty nesters, friends, children’s homes (orphanages), single/lone parent families.

1. Identification of points alone without development, such as single parent families, or simple responses such as friends or cohabiting couples.

2. A detailed response might be that Murdock would not consider single parent families to be a family because in spite of the fact they share a residence and economic cooperation between parent and children. There are not two adults in a sexually approved relationship in the home.

(c) Explain why the family may be changing in modern industrial societies. [8]

L1 0–4 A few simple points about the topic with no direct reference to the question could be worth 1 or 2 marks.

Descriptions of why individual roles may be changing rather than changing social factors to be found in families alone may be worth 1 or 2 marks. Answers that confuse ‘how’ with ‘why’ place in this level.

Better answers at this level would identify one or two points, such as fewer children in families, more mothers in paid employment, but there will be little depth in the explanations offered and the answer will rely on description.

L2 5–8 A sound explanation of the ways families may be changing but which is somewhat implicit or partial, would fit the lower part of this level.

At this level, answers will not confuse ‘how’ families may be changing with ‘why’ they may be undergoing social change.

At the bottom of the level, may be limited to social factors that are influencing families such as changing social pressures, patterns of employment and availability of contraception. Other factors that could be referred to can include family diversity and the influence of migration.

To go higher (7–8 marks), the explanation needs to be explicit and well informed. Answers may attempt to outline the topic in the question by considering such issues as the continuing popularity of nuclear families, the majority of couples marry, most children are brought up by their parents in nuclear families and most divorcees remarry forming reconstituted families. Or give specific detail about a range of factors that have influenced family change.

At the top of the level, place answers according to the depth and/or range of examples explained and supported by reference to theory or empirical data.

NB This question asks candidates to ‘explain’ therefore there is no requirement for assessment. But do not penalise candidates who do this.

(d) Assess the view that the nuclear family is the main type of family structure in all societies. [11]

NB This question does not specify MIS so allow accurate references to all societies.

L1 0–4 Answers at this level are likely to show only limited appreciation of the predominance, or not, of nuclear families.

Lower at this level, a simple answer that identifies a few basic points such as why nuclear families remain important perhaps backed up by some statistics would gain 1 or 2 marks.

Higher at this level, an answer might advance a few limited observations about the differences to be found in family structures.

General descriptions of how Murdock came to his conclusions may go to the top of the level.

Other answers which offer short descriptive accounts of either societies where other family forms dominate or those who criticise his work, perhaps by quoting Oakley, may also go to the top of the band. At this level answers are likely to consider only one view.

L2 5–8 Answers at this level show some sociological knowledge and understanding. A simplistic description of the way in which the nuclear family is to be found in all societies, as well as examples of how other family types are developing could gain 5 or 6 marks.

At this level, answers may be supported by ideas such as isolated nuclear family and modified extended families. Answers of this type are likely to concentrate on theorists such as Murdock and Parsons and the suitability of the nuclear family for modern industrial societies.

Other answers may wholly or partially reject the idea of the nuclear family remaining dominant, by describing a range of other family types to be found in society, or make reference to such societies as that of the Nayer. Higher at this level, a more detailed account that questions the proposition would gain 7 or 8 marks.

Award marks for answers that consider both sides of the argument that nuclear families are found in all societies but that diversity is to be found in most societies as well. At this level this may be by juxtaposition rather than direct assessment. There is likely to be some use of theorists or empirical data to support points at this level and answers should offer a sound attempt to contrast views, most probably from functionalist and examples of diversity such as Rapoport and Rapoport. Conversely, a one-sided answer that is done very well, could also gain up to 8 marks.

L3 9–11 Answers at this level should provide a detailed account of the way in which the nuclear family is to be found in all societies or not, as well as how factors such as the life cycle of the family may account for some of the differences. Some answers may highlight different societies and the existence not only of extended families but also of other alternative family forms. There may be an attempt to assess the way in which this can be interpreted, probably from feminist and functionalist positions.

Lower at this level (9–10 marks), the assessment may be based on a simple juxtaposition of two views, or may be confined to just one view with one or two evaluative points.

At the top of the level, the question will be evaluated explicitly and in reasonable depth.

The notion of the dominance, or not, of the nuclear family will be directly addressed probably by consideration diversity, or of the continuing existence of the nuclear family, with conclusive points. There is likely to be use of other points such as Sheeran and the female-carer core or same sex families.

Other issues can be included, such as relationships within nuclear families as well as family ideology.

Concepts such as risk and the negotiated family, divorce-extended family, life course analysis, neo-conventional family can be referred to. Evaluative answers can be supported by such evidence as family life cycle that shows that most individuals will spend some period of time in a nuclear family.


Section B

Answer either question 2 or question 3.

2 Explain and assess the view that families are no longer patriarchal in modern industrial societies. [25]

L1 0–6 Lower at this level (1–3 marks), answers may be confined to one or two simple points based on assertion or common sense understanding. For example, one or two simple points about how men “get their way” in families, or not, with no sociological support or about who does what in families, such as men having more freedom or going to the pub (or something similar) whilst women look after children may gain up to 3 marks.

Higher at this level, there may be a wider range of simple points based on assertion or common sense understanding. For example, an answer showing some limited understanding of the process of decision making such as men controlling the family income may be awarded a mark of 6. At this level there may be no direct reference to patriarchy.

L2 7–12 Answers at this level, will show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question and knowledge of the concept of patriarchy.

Lower at this level (7–9 marks), the answer may be confined to a narrow range of points, lacking detail and possibly with some inaccuracies. For example, an outline of the importance of conjugal roles and the development of equality between partners with no reference to issues such as weaker family members would be worthy of the lower marks in the level.

An outline of the domestic labour debate, with no critical development, such as the way time is spent and the development of the symmetrical family with no development, may gain up to 9 marks.

Higher in this level (10–12 marks), answers may either cover a narrow range of points in reasonable detail or cover a wider range of points in limited detail.

Points candidates might cover include, discussion of power in conjugal roles such as the control of family income, or decision making, or a discussion of other theories of family relationships as outlined by feminists or Marxists (in this level it is unlikely that it will be by both). A clear understanding of patriarchy should be shown at this level. There may or may not be limited assessment in this level.

L3 13–18 Answers at this level will show good sociological knowledge and understanding. The material used will be interpreted accurately and applied effectively to answering the question. There is no requirement for assessment at this level although it may be present.

Lower at this level (13–15 marks), answers will demonstrate knowledge but this may be limited in range. There will be little or no use of concepts or theory, and the points covered may lack development.

Answers that enter this level should refer to ideas linked to evidence that shows a growing trend to equality, at least in some modern industrial societies, but that studies, such as that of Dobash and Dobash, highlight weaknesses in this view. Lower in the level the discussion may be limited to contrasting the ideas of Oakley, Young and Willmott.

Other answers may display a detailed assessment of the different power relationships between different members of the family but be unsupported by theory.

Higher at this level (16–18 marks), answers will use a wider range of knowledge, supported by the use of concepts and theory where relevant and include welldeveloped points.

To get to the higher end of the level, candidates should demonstrate good understanding of the topic with some interpretation of the evidence such as the variety of feminist views as outlined by liberal, Marxist and radical feminists as well as the concept of patriarchy. This may not just be limited to conjugal roles but may also include other weaker members of families either in relation to men or women.

However, this assessment will be lacking in detail and may rely on the juxtaposition of different theories that may include post-modernist views, such as Nicolson, that powerful ideologies support some family types whilst devaluing others.

L4 19–25 Answers at this level must achieve three things:

First, there will be good sociological knowledge and understanding.

Second, the material used will be interpreted accurately and applied effectively to answering the question.

Third, there must also be some evidence of assessment.

Answers at this level will provide a solid account of relationships within families including both conjugal roles and other relationships within families; one possible way to approach this question is by control of other family members. There should also be a sustained and well informed assessment of activities and power such as the work of Edgell and decision making.

Lower at this level (19–21 marks), the assessment may be largely delivered through juxtaposition of contrasting arguments and theories such as functionalists as supported by such studies as Young and Willmott and feminists such as Barrett and McIntosh. Alternatively, the assessment may be limited to just one or two evaluative points that are explicitly stated.

Higher at this level (22–25 marks), there will be sustained assessment and the points offered will be explicit and well-directed towards the question. This analysis may take the form of arguing that feminism is not one coherent theory and the evidence of the lack of evidence to support the symmetrical family in a variety of societies.

Another way of gaining the highest level, would be to outline the various ways in which families are dominated by patriarchy with such examples as the giving of dowries, female infanticide and female mutilation.

An alternative answer may evaluate the power of women to control men through public shame as contrasted by Izzat both in traditional and modern industrial societies.

Concepts such as patriarchy, the new man, domestic violence, pooling, decision making, march of progress, dual burden, emotion work, the commercialisation of housework and equality may be referred to. There should be a balanced conclusion to gain full marks.

3 Explain and assess the view that childhood is a time when children are free from the pressures of adult life. [25]

L1 0–6 Lower at this level (1–3 marks), answers may be confined to one or two simple points based on assertion or common sense understanding. For example, one or two simple points about the way in which children spend their time with no reference to what is meant by the pressures of adult life or with no sociological support.

Higher at this level, there may be a wider range of simple points based on assertion or common sense understanding. For example, if some limited understanding of the process of socialisation is shown such as the way in which the child learns acceptable behaviours and values in their society or descriptions of the situation of feral children. Other answers may make a few points about how children copy the behaviours of others through play and learn to become boys and girls.

L2 7–12 Answers at this level will show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question.

Lower at this level (7–9 marks), answers may be confined to a narrow range of points, lacking detail and possibly with some inaccuracies. For example, an outline of the importance of socialisation into the culture of a particular society with no reference to issues such as laws that may have been passed to protect children. Or responses which offer only a general answer relating to the importance of human socialisation with no development may gain up to 9 marks.

Higher at this level (10–12 marks), answers may either cover a narrow range of points in reasonable detail or cover a wider range of points in limited detail.

This could include such points as an outline of the ‘march of progress’ view showing the position of children improving, children valued, protected, cared for and educated or an outline of conflict theories about inequalities between children. Or a discussion of other inequalities between children and adults that cause dependency and oppression.

L3 13–18 Answers at this level will show good sociological knowledge and understanding. The material used will be interpreted accurately and applied effectively to answering the question. There is no requirement for assessment at this level although it may be present.

Answers that enter this level may refer to ideas linked to the experiences of different groups of children; that not all children within one society will share the same social position, gender or ethnicity and this will influence the way their childhood is spent.

Lower at this level (13–15 marks), answers may use a narrow range of knowledge, there will be limited use of concepts or theory, and the points covered may lack development.

Answers lower in the level may be limited to a discussion of when childhood ends for different groups. For example when children are expected to join the adult world and assume adult responsibilities.

Higher at this level (16–18 marks), answers will use a wider range of knowledge, supported by the use of concepts and theory where relevant and include some welldeveloped points.

To get into the higher end of the level there should be a consideration of some evidence such as the consequences of extended education in some societies. Other answers may display a detailed assessment of different experiences in childhood but be unsupported by much knowledge. Other answers may consider the extent to which childhood is a time of innocence/protection in an age when the media blurs the distinction between children and adults. However, this assessment may be lacking in detail and rely on the juxtaposition of the different ways in which childhood is experienced for different groups such as girls as opposed to boys and the way that they may be either more protected, or exposed to harsh treatment than males such as the consequences of Izzat.

L4 19–25 Answers at this level must achieve three things:

First, there will be good sociological knowledge and understanding.

Second, the material used will be interpreted accurately and applied effectively to answering the question.

Third, there must also be some evidence of assessment.

Answers at this level will provide a solid account of the experience of childhood including a historical view of the development of childhood. There will also be a sustained and well informed assessment of the march of progress theory as supported by the development of laws to protect children.

Lower at this level (19–21 marks), the assessment may be largely delivered through juxtaposition of contrasting arguments and theories such as Marxist and feminist which highlight the inequalities between children both between and within families and societies.

Higher at this level (22–25 marks), there will be sustained assessment and the points offered will be explicit and well-directed towards the question. There is likely to be a well-formulated conclusion.

This may include a more direct analysis of the way in which childhood may, or may not, be protected. This analysis may take the form of arguing that children are kept separate and controlled in society and this is then contrasted to examples of how children are exposed to what others are exposed to in their societies. For example exploitation in work (Brannen girls and domestic labour), or children who are not excluded from society (Holmes, children in Samoa never considered too young to undertake a task in society).

Another way of gaining the highest level would be to explore the examples of abuse that children experience in spite of laws to protect them such as mental/physical abuse or neglect, child soldiers or the experience of street children and how they are dealt with. Cross-cultural examples can be quoted with credit. Concepts such as the social construction of childhood, separateness (Pilcher), golden age, age status, inequality and child centred may be referred to. There should be a balanced conclusion to gain full marks.

Useful information (Hints)

Question 1(a)

Question 1(b)

Question 1(c)

Question 1(d)

Question 2

Question 3