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Section A

Answer question 1.

1 Feminists argue that there continues to be inequality in the domestic division of labour and in the way in which power is exercised within families. Many women experience a dual burden. Feminists claim that family life remains patriarchal and there is little evidence to support the emergence of the ‘new man’.

Families can frequently be warm and supportive for all their members, both socialising children and providing emotional support for adults. However, the family can also be a dangerous and stressful place for some of its members. Indeed, some sociologists have compared the family to an overloaded electric circuit that is ready to explode.

(a) Define the term dual burden. [2]

1 A partial definition such as when women have lots to do like working and looking after their family.

2 An accurate definition such as when a partner, usually the woman, not only have to look after the family and care for their needs but also have paid employment.

(b) Describe two characteristics of the ‘new man’. [4]

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

Points that can be included are men who are supposedly more caring, sharing, gentle, more sensitive in their attitudes to women and children, sensitive to their own emotional needs, share decision making, help/share household chores. X 2

1 Identification of points alone without development, such as a man who is prepared to do housework, or simple responses such as men who are more caring, share things or who are more gentle.

2 A detailed response might be that men who are thought to be more in touch with their own emotions and are therefore more likely to be an equal partner in a relationship as opposed to following patriarchal practices.

(c) Explain in what ways the family might be a dangerous and stressful place for some family members. [8]

L 1 0–4 Answers with a limited understanding of the question as set. Descriptions of physical abuse on women or children alone, may be worth 1 or 2 marks.

Better answers at this level, 3 to 4 marks, would identify one or two points, such as domestic violence with reference to official statistics, control over activities and specific examples of abuse, but there will be little depth in the explanations offered and the answer will rely on description. [1]

L 2 5–8 A sound account of two or more well-made points.

At the bottom of the level, 5 to 6 marks, this may be limited to the evidence that relates to the physical abuse of less powerful family members. Other factors that could be referred to can include exploitation and the abuse of the elderly as well as women and children.

At 7 to 8 marks, answers can attempt to explore the ‘might be’ in the question by considering such issues as the extent of abuse and what is considered abuse, legal changes to protect the vulnerable as well as comparisons as to what represents abuse in different countries such as, hitting, bride burning and who the abusers are. Place at the top of the level according to the depth and/or range of examples explained and supported by reference to theory or empirical data. Credit can be given for use of such studies as those of Dobash and Dobash. Reward answers which make reference to issues of stress that some family members may experience.

N.B. This question asks candidates to ‘explain’ therefore there is no requirement for assessment but do not penalise those candidates who do evaluate.

(d) Assess the view that family life continues to be patriarchal. [11]

L 1 0–4 A few general points about how men continue to be the leaders of families may gain 1 or 2 marks.

General descriptions of how issues of gender influence family life, may go to the top of the level, 3 or 4 marks.

Other answers which offer short descriptive accounts of either equality in marriage or the family, may go to the top of the level.

At this level mark answers are likely to consider only if families still are, or have ceased to be, patriarchal.

L 2 5–8 A sound description of the way in which conjugal roles continue to be patriarchal or not, should receive a mark at the lower end of the level, 5 to 6 marks. In this level answers may be supported by ideas, such as Young and Willmott and the functionalists, that these roles are changing to become equal even though they may be different. Answers of this type are likely to concentrate on theorists such as Parsons. In this level patriarchy may be expressed in terms of ‘being dominated by men’.

Other answers may wholly or partially reject the idea of equality in favour of patriarchy continuing. Award 5 to 6 marks for answers that give some detailed consideration of either position.

Award 7 to 8 marks for answers that consider both sides of the argument in that patriarchy continues, or that equality is developing within conjugal roles, but which juxtapose these points of view rather than assessing them. There should 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 Marxist positions.

Alternative answers at this level, may ignore conjugal roles in favour of answering the question by focussing on the position of female family members in general, rather than by concentrating on the relationships between husbands and wives.

L 3 9–11 Answers at this level should provide a detailed account of the way in which family life is, or is not, patriarchal. The ways in which patriarchy can be expressed in terms of decision making, the way power and preference is being given to males may both be explored. This should be set in the wider context of the family and not be limited to conjugal partners. In this level some differences in families should be noted. Some answers may highlight changes in the law and changed attitudes which have introduced equality into family life. There should be an attempt to assess the way in which this can be interpreted, probably from Marxist/feminist and functionalist positions.

There should be assessment to reach this level, and at 10 to 11 marks some signs of weighing up the word ‘continues’ and how it may be of less importance, as with the symmetrical family, or of how it is not, as with domestic violence, with some conclusive points made. There is likely to be use of functionalist versus Marxist positions, but also variations on feminism may appear (views such as those of Marxist/feminist, radical and liberal feminist) with a critique of these.

Other issues can be included, such as rates of mental illness in married people as well as differences within societies between families who have a different status. Concepts such as equality, democratic, egalitarian, ideological and patriarchal control, domestic violence and diversity may be referred to. Evaluative answers can be supported by such examples as postmodernists, who argue that social actors have some choice in family relationships and that structural theories are too deterministic in their views.


Section B

Answer either question 2 or question 3.

2 Explain and assess the view that family structures have become increasingly similar due to industrialisation. [25]

L 1 0–6 Answers in this level are likely to be assertive and focus on a few common sense observations about different sorts of family arrangements to be found in societies, with no sociological support.

A few simple points about geographic mobility causing families to split up may gain up to 3 or 4 marks.

If some limited understanding of the process of industrialisation is shown, such as changing from craft based to machine based technology, a mark of 6 may be awarded, if this is not confused with urbanisation.

L 2 7–12 A basic account of the importance of the pre-industrial family with no reference to issues such as urbanisation or diversity would be worthy of the lower marks in the level, 7 to 8 marks.

An outline of the way industrialisation encourages urbanisation and migration patterns with no development, such as descriptions of movements within one society, may reach 9 to 10 marks.

To go higher, 11 to 12 marks, there may either be a discussion of changes, such as outlined by Parsons, or a discussion of other theories in relation to historical interpretations as outlined by Laslett.

There may be no assessment in this level, or assessment by juxtaposition, and there could be some confusion as to what the family in industrialisation is being compared to.

L 3 13–18 Answers that enter this level may refer to ideas linked to global changes in the structure of families that might include references of some non-western societies, such as Japan.

Lower in the level, 13 to 14 marks, the discussion may be limited to developments of the nuclear family as outlined by such theorist as Young and Willmott, but will also be supported by some examples of diversity, these may be examples of ethnic diversity. To get to 15 to 16 marks, candidates should demonstrate good understanding of the topic with some interpretation of the evidence, such as, a great number of people will live in a traditional family for a part of their life; such answers may be supported by an analysis of statistics or by reference to such studies as the Rapoports and five types of diversity. Other answers may display a detailed assessment but be unsupported by much knowledge.

To get into the higher part of the level, 17 to 18 marks, there should be some assessment of the extent to which industrialisation has caused changes in family structures, or the way in which other factors of influence, such as the media and globalisation, has impacted on family structures by the spreading of ‘western’ values. However, this assessment will be lacking in detail and may rely on the juxtaposition of different structural and social action theories.

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.

Third, there must also be some evidence of assessment.

Answers in this level should provide a solid account of the way in which family patterns have become more similar and which may include reference to different types of societies. There will also be a sustained and well informed assessment of the many different types of family structures to be found such as alternative families, for example, ‘same sex’ family structures. Answers may raise the issue that households such as friends are forming new ‘family’ types.

Lower in the level, 19 to 20 marks, this assessment may still be mainly by juxtaposition of the main sociological theories, such as functionalist and dominant families and postmodernists and individual choice and diversity.

To go higher in the band, 21 to 25 marks there must, also, be a more direct analysis of the view that there is a monolithic family type in comparison to diversity, both in the past and the present, and the pointlessness of making large scale generalisations like the functionalists do. This analysis may take the form of arguing there has been a variety of ‘family type’ due to many circumstances (death in the past, divorce today and causing reconstituted families).

Another way of gaining the highest level would be to argue that there has been a convergence of diversity with a growing acceptance of diversity (Weeks), and that similar family patterns are to be found in many societies due to global trends. Concepts such as extended/nuclear/reconstituted/isolated nuclear/modified extended/beanpole/single-parent families, divorce-extended family (Stacey), heteronorm, chosen family, diversity, kinship networks, life course, and family practices can be referred to as part of the discussion.

There should be at least the outline of a conclusion to gain full marks.

3 ‘The status of the elderly is declining in most societies.’ Explain and assess this view. [25]

L 1 0–6 Answers in this level are likely to be assertive and focus on a few common sense observations about the significance of age in families or society with no sociological support.

A few simple points about age such as the elderly having a higher social position in families/society than the young may gain up to 3 or 4 marks.

If some limited understanding of the position in some families is shown, such as when the oldest male has the most status, a mark of 6 may be awarded.

L 2 7–12 A basic account of the importance of age (or its lack of importance) in relation to society/the family with no reference to issues, such the significance of other factors such as ethnicity or wealth, would be worthy of the lower marks in the level, 7 to 8 marks.

An outline of the different ways in which age can influence social position in terms of adulthood/elderly, childhood/elderly either within the family, or society, with no development, may go up to 10 marks.

To go higher, 11 to 12 marks, there could either be a discussion of age in relation to social position in society, or be a supported reference to the global growth of this age group and the significance of this growth. There may be no assessment in this level, or assessment by juxtaposition.

L 3 13–18 Answers that enter this level should show the importance of age in determining social position within society which may reference the effects of the dependency ratio.

Lower in the level, 13 to 14 marks, the discussion may be limited to descriptions of different groups such as the Sherpas (the idealisation of old age) compared to Fulani (the low regard of the elderly so they are moved to the edge of the community) based on the case studies of theorists (Vincent).

To get to 15 to 16 marks candidates should demonstrate good understanding of the topic with some interpretation of the evidence, such as the social construction of age with examples of societies with little age stratification (such as the Mbuti of Africa, with rural Indian villages where age stratification is experienced to a high degree both in families and the wider culture).

An alternative answer at this level may stress the importance of age in determining the social status of individuals in the family, as long as reference is also made to wider society, which may make reference to such phenomenon as ‘grey power’. Other answers may display a detailed assessment but be unsupported by much knowledge.

To get into the higher part of the level, 17 to 18 marks, there should be some assessment of the extent to which age is regarded as a superior status or something to be avoided, as demonstrated by the cult of youth found in some societies.

However, this assessment will be lacking in detail and may rely on the juxtaposition of different pieces of 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.

Third, there must also be some evidence of assessment.

Answers in this level should provide a solid account of the ways in which age influence social standing in society and may also include the family. There will also be a sustained and well informed assessment of the impact of age such as in a variety of contemporary households/societies. Lower in the level, 19 to 20 marks, this assessment may still be mainly by juxtaposition of the main sociological theories, such as conflict theory which sees life course based on power and inequality, and interpretivist views of social construction.

To go higher in the level, 21 to 25 marks, there must also be a more direct analysis of equality/inequality. This analysis may take the form of arguing that these factors cannot be assessed alone but are social constructions which interlink. Concepts such as dimensions of age, life course/cycle, determinism, inequalities, sub-culture, patriarchy, rites of passage, age strata, subordination, structural dependency, infantilisation, may be referred to.

Another way of gaining the highest level would be to use cross cultural examples of how the social position of individuals in society is not only linked to their age but also to the social position within which their family operates. This can be supported by different examples of the social position of the elderly in modern industrial societies as opposed to traditional societies.

Credit answers which relate to theory such as conflict theorists who argue that the elderly have become second class citizens as they are seen as unproductive (Phillipson) this can be compared to the position of elderly WAPS in some societies. There should be at least the outline of a conclusion to gain full marks.

Useful information (Hints)

Question 1(a)

Question 1(b)

Question 1(c)

Question 1(d)

Question 2

Question 3