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The 'nutshells' provide concentrated summaries. Use the arrows or swipe across to explore topics in more detail, including key perspectives and sociologists.

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Topic 1 - COUPLES

In a nutshell

Sociologists have different opinions on how couples do and should divide up domestic labour. They also have different opinions on how decision making happens. Finally, some sociologists believe domestic violence results from patriarchy (Dobash and Dobash), whereas others believe it’s cause by stress from being poor (Wilkinson).


In a nutshell

Some sociologists argue that the position of children in society has significantly improved due to the introduction of laws that protect children's rights. However, some sociologists believe childhood has turned ‘toxic’ due to rapid technological and cultural change.


In a nutshell

Functionalists hold a consensus view of the family arguing that it plays a vital role in providing beneficial functions to meet the needs of society and its individual members. Alternatively, Marxists take a conflict view of the family, arguing it helps maintain class inequalities. Feminists also hold a conflict view of the family, whereby they believe the family is the main source of oppression of women.

Topic 4 - Demography

In a nutshell

Some sociologists believe the quality of life has significantly improved, whereby life expectancy is increasing, birth rate is decreasing and infant mortality is decreasing. Technological, cultural and social change has led to such an improvement. However, some sociologists disregard this in arguing there is now an increased dependency culture which is a burden on society.


In a nutshell

Divorce is increasing and marriage is decreasing. Reasons for this include secularisation, decline in stigma, changing position of women, and changes in the law.

topic 6 - Family Diversity

In a nutshell

Family diversity has increased, and there as been a shift away from the traditional nuclear family. Nowadays, it is more common for reconstituted, lone-parent and cohabiting families to exist. However, functionalists and the new right reject this in arguing the nuclear family is the only family type functional for society.

topic 7 - Family and Social Policy

In a nutshell

Social policy can have a big impact on families. International examples with huge impact include China’s one child policy and Nazi Germany’s policies. In the UK, some sociologists believe social policy can be used to help families, however others believe it is there to oppress them.

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