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Section A

Answer question 1.

1 A survey carried out in Sri Lanka shows that the divorce rate is higher amongst migrant families than non-migrant families. This and other studies show that cases of family break up due to migration are reported to be increasing in many countries. Sociologists have found a trend towards polygamy as a result of the separation of married couples through migration.

Another Sri Lankan survey indicates that the effects of migration also include: wasteful consumption, increased alcoholism and gambling, loss of traditional values among migrant women, particularly the unmarried, and the problem of social reintegration upon return. Another consequence for families is the disruption of family life and matrimonial relationships.

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

One mark for a partial definition such as when an individual is married to more than one partner.

Two marks for an accurate definition of polygamy as a form of marriage where a man/woman can have two or more wives/husbands at the same time.

(b) Describe two reasons why migration can lead to problems of social reintegration upon return. [4]

Points that can be included are the changes that can occur in the social position/status of women, weakening patriarchy, causing marital breakdown, removing a parent from the socialisation of children, encouraging marital infidelity, changed attitude/behaviour of the returning partner, any other valid point.

Answers are likely to assume that the returning parent is male but allow those who answer in relation to females.

One mark for each reason plus one mark for development (2 × 2 marks).

(c) Explain why divorce rates are higher among some social groups than other social groups. [8]

L1 0–4 Answers at this level are likely to show only limited appreciation of the issues raised in the question.

Lower in the level, a simple answer which identifies how, when couples are separated, for whatever reason, they tend to drift apart, may be worth 1 or 2 marks.

Higher in the level, an answer might advance a few limited observations such as which types of couples from which social groups are more likely to experience ‘strain’ than others, or answers which make reference to divorce statistics, may be worth 3 or 4 marks, but there would be little depth in the explanations offered and the answer will rely on description rather than explanation.

L2 5–8 Answers at this level show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question.

Lower in the level, answers may be simplistic and/or descriptive and may be limited to ‘the way social control is weakened for some social groups as compared to others’. Other factors that could be referred to can include reference to the social position of women and the rising expectations of marriage, especially in some societies. Such answers could receive a mark of 5-6.

Higher in the level, a more detailed account of evidence, such as that of Hart that has identified long separation/different types of employment as a correlation to divorce, may be worth a mark of 7 or 8. Place at the top of the level according to depth and/or range of examples explained and supported by reference to theory or empirical data.

N.B. This question asks candidates to ‘explain’ therefore there is no requirement for assessment.

(d) Assess the view that in modern industrial society family life is breaking down. [11]

L1 0–4 Answers at this level are likely to show only limited appreciation of the issues raised in the question.

Lower in the level, a simple answer that identifies a few basic features about how families do not (or do) work in modern societies may gain 1 or 2 marks.

Higher in the level, answers may advance a few limited observations about how families are breaking down in modern industrial society. General descriptions about how this has led to social problems, such as juvenile delinquency, may go to 3 or 4 marks. Other answers which offer short descriptive accounts of either different families that lack key members, such as fathers, or are in some way dysfunctional, may also go to 3 or 4 marks.

L2 5–8 Answers at this level show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question.

Lower in the level, a simplistic description such as the way in which the family may have experienced a loss of function should receive a mark of 5 or 6. This is likely to highlight functionalist views of the family remaining important and the change of functions from a larger group to the ‘basic and irreducible’ ones. An alternative answer at this level may refer to the work of the New Right.

Higher in the level, answers will include a more detail account. Award 7-8 marks to answers which address both sides of the argument. This is likely to focus on the way in which the family does or does not carry out its functions.

A descriptive answer cannot gain more than 8 marks.

L3 9–11 Answers at this level will demonstrate good sociological knowledge and understanding applied to the question. There will also be an assessment of the view on which the question is based.

Lower in the band, 9–10 marks, the assessment may be based on a simple juxtaposition of the functionalist and the New Right views, or may be confined to just one or two evaluative points.

At the top of the band, 11 marks, the functions of the family will be evaluated explicitly and in reasonable depth; candidates can either take the view that this refers to how the family operates for family members, or the functions of the family for society. The notion of ‘broken’ will be directly addressed, probably by a discussion of key concepts such as such as domestic violence, migration, divorce, cohabitation, social problems, lone-parent families, traditional values. Reference to a dependency culture may be included as well as a possible evaluation of the supposed ‘golden age’ of the family.


Section B

Answer either question 2 or question 3.

2 Explain and assess the view that in modern industrial societies females are the main decision makers in families. [25]

L 1 0–6 Answers at this level are likely to be assertive and to focus on a few common sense observations about the different activities that men and women undertake in the house/home, with little or no sociological support. The activities can be stated as either being done by men or women.

Lower in the level, answers may be confined to one or two simple points based on assertion and/or common sense understanding. For example, one or two simple points about men no longer deciding, or women taking decisions, may gain up to 3 marks.

Higher in the level, there may be a wider range of simple points based on assertion or common sense understanding. For example, an answer stating that men make all the decisions, control money and have more privileges than women, may gain up to 6 marks. L 2 7–12 Answers at this level will show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question.

Lower in the level, 7–9 marks, answers may be confined to a narrow range of points, lacking in detail and include some inaccuracies. For example, an outline of changes in the law or social changes that may have weakened patriarchy but with no development, may gain up to 9 marks. Higher in the 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 and discuss can include, for example, the continuation of domestic violence as an example of lack of female power, or a discussion of other theories, such as functionalist views, for example, Talcott Parsons and instrumental and expressive roles that are seen as ‘different but equal’. Such answers are likely to rely on one theory.

L 3 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.

Lower in the level, 13–15 marks, answers may use only a limited range of knowledge. There will be little or no accurate use of concepts/theory and the points covered may lack development.

Answers may refer to ideas linked to functionalism and the growing equality in families resulting in increasing levels of female power, or the ideas of the New Right that traditional family structures have weakened leaving females to dominate families.

Higher in the level, 16–18 marks, answers will use a wider range of knowledge supported by the use of concepts/theory where relevant and include some welldeveloped points. Such answers may include an evaluation of the power of females to be found in the past, or the ability of females to control their men in traditional societies by ‘the fear of public shame’. Other answers may display a detailed assessment but be unsupported by much knowledge. There may be some discussion of the way in which females may or may not be dominating families more now, than in the past. However, this assessment may be lacking in detail and rely on the juxtaposition of different theories or empirical evidence.

L 4 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; and third, there must also be some evidence of assessment.

Lower in the level, 19–21 marks, the assessment may be largely delivered through juxtaposition of contrasting arguments/theories. Alternatively, the assessment may be limited to just one or two evaluative points that are explicitly stated.

Answers will provide a solid account of the control of families including reference to both patriarchy and matriarchy in relation to different societies or different social groups. There may also be a sustained and well informed assessment of the way in which the female members of the family may have gained more power, such as the role of mothers in single parent families and such phenomenon as the New World Black Family. Good use can be made of the main sociological theories such as the New Right and post-modernists.

Higher in the band, 22–25, 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. Trends in patterns of employment as well as legal changes and the loss of traditional male occupations could all be referred to.

One way to gain the highest marks would be to discuss the way in which the roles of different females in families may have changed due to changes in education, paid employment and social values. Another way of gaining the highest level would be to highlight the ways in which patriarchy still dominates family life in many societies and social groups whilst showing that there have been some changes. Use of concepts such as matriarchy, patriarchy, female carer core and same sex relationships may be the mark of a good essay.

3 ‘Protection of children is the most significant function of the family.’ Explain and assess this view. [25]

L 1 0–6 Answers at this level are likely to be assertive and focus on a few common sense observations about caring for children with little or no sociological support.

Lower in the band, answers may be confined to one or two simple points based on assertion and/or common sense understanding. For example, the role of the family in caring for its children such as providing them with food, may gain up to 3 marks.

Higher in the level, there may be a wider range of simple points made based on assertion and/or common sense understanding. For example, an answer stating that children are socialised, or provided for economically, may gain up to 6 marks. Conversely, place here answers of a similar type that assert that families do not care for children, or answers which select another function as more important.

L 2 7–12 Answers at this level will show some sociological knowledge and understanding of the question.

Lower in the level, 7–9 marks, the answer may be confined to a narrow range of points, lacking in detail and include some inaccuracies. For example, a basic account of the socialisation of children with no development, may gain up to 9 marks.

Higher in the 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 covered may include discussion of, for example, socialisation and the role of the family in providing health and education, as well as other functions of the family.

L 3 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.

Lower in this level, 13–15 marks, answers may use only a limited range of knowledge. There will be little or no accurate use of concepts/theory, and the points covered may lack development. Such answers are likely to review the functions of the family.

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

At this level answers are likely to review the functions of the family from the perspective of different theories and, although assessment is not required in this band, there may be some attempt to state which is more important.

L 4 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; and third, there must also be some evidence of assessment.

Lower in the level, 19–21 marks, the assessment may be largely delivered through juxtaposition of contrasting arguments/theories. Alternatively, the assessment may be limited to just one or two evaluative points that are explicitly stated.

Answers in this level will provide a solid account of the functions of the family including the socialisation and nurture of children. There will also be a sustained and well informed assessment of the success with which this function is carried out and evidence, such as the abuse that may be suffered by some family members at the hands of other family members, may be given. There should be some attempt to directly assess the ‘protection of children as the most significant function’ in the answer.

Higher in the 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 analysis may take the form of arguing from a Marxist perspective that the prime function is that of providing the next generation of workers for a capitalist society.

Another way of gaining the highest level would be to assess the post-modern view that family life and family functions are negotiable by individual members. Concepts that could be usefully included are functional prerequisites, patriarchy, forced marriages, hidden victims, domestic violence, lone-parenting, egalitarianism, as well as others.

Useful information (Hints)

Question 1(a)

Question 1(b)

Question 1(c)

Question 1(d)

Question 2

Question 3