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Industrialisation and the family What does Industrialisation mean?

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Industrialisation and the family What does Industrialisation mean?. Activity. What would happen if all families were banned by law tomorrow? What tasks currently carried out by your own family would someone else have to perform?. Talcott Parsons. Functionalist

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Industrialisation and the family

What does Industrialisation mean?


What would happen if all families were banned by law tomorrow?

What tasks currently carried out by your own family would someone else have to perform?

talcott parsons
Talcott Parsons
  • Functionalist
  • Industrialisation has led to the isolated nuclear family
  • In pre-industrial times extended families all lived and work together.
  • The nuclear family has become isolated because
  • 1) Its lost all its functions (we no longer make anything as a family)
  • 2) Status is achieved not ascribed, you no longer need your family to get somewhere in life
  • 3) We need a mobile workforce and so large extended families are not functional. Large families tie you down with lots of responsibility
summary of parson s
Summary of Parson’s
  • The isolated nuclear family is ideally suited to modern industrial society.
  • Although it is slimmed down, it can still perform its essential functions i.e. the socialisation of children and the stabilisation of adult personalities
peter laslett
Peter Laslett
  • Questions the view that everybody lived in a extended family in pre-industrial society.
  • He looked at Parish records
  • He found that only 10% of people in England between the years 1564 and 1821 lived in extended families
  • In 1981 the figure was 9% in England
  • So nuclear families were the norm in pre-industrial England.
  • His research was based on households but people do NOT have to live under the same roof to form a extended family.
  • Extended families may have been important even though relatives did not live under the same roof.
michael anderson
Michael Anderson
  • The early stages of industrialisation may have encouraged the development of extended families.
  • 1851 census showed that 23% of households contained kin beyond the nuclear family
  • Most of these households were working class.
  • They lived together to help each other in times of hardship.
what do you think
What do you think?
  • Which of the three viewpoints do you agree with the most and why?
  • Do you think it is useful to look at families in terms of nuclear and extended?
ann oakley women and industrialisation
Ann Oakley (Women and Industrialisation)
  • During the early years of industrialisation the factory steadily replaced the family as the unit of production.
  • Women were employed in factories where they often continued their traditional work in textiles.
  • 1819 factory act stopped child labour and so women now had to stay at home to look after the children.

Women were seen as a threat to men in the workforce and many men called for them to be sent home.

  • Laws were past preventing female employment in many industries.
  • In 1851 one in four married women were employed.
  • By 1911 this reduced to one in ten.
  • By 1970 half of all married women were employed but they still saw their role in the home as most important.

Ann Oakley summary

Industrialisation had the following effects on the role of women:

  • 1) It separated men from the daily routines of domestic life.
  • 2)The economic dependence of women and children on men.
  • 3) The isolation of housework and childcare from other work.


is the position of women changing
Is the position of women changing?
  • In 2000 75% of married women of working age (16-59) were economically active (in work or seeking work)
  • There’s been a decline of full-time mothers and housewives
  • Celebrity mums racing to get back into their mini-dress and back to work. Commenting on Amanda Holden, back on Britain's Got Talent barely three weeks after an horrific ordeal giving birth to her daughter

As the power we command in the role of mother has been rescinded by government and social pressure, and the way in which society views women who choose to stay at home with their family has taken a decidedly negative turn, we find ourselves in a position where motherhood has been 'de-professionalised'. The full time mum just isn't taken seriously anymore - and yet she's so important.

  • Statistics show that 86% of UK families name mum as the primary carer, and a 2008 study demonstrated that most important family decisions - finances, schools, leisure time - are taken by women
  • Yet 29% of mums work full-time and a massive 63% of married mums with pre-school children work, despite government recommendations that children should have one-to-one care from a family member until they are three.
  • In America, a career woman who becomes a full-time mum is referred to as 'opting out'

Do you think the position of women in society has really changed?

  • What sort of family would you rather be part of, one where both parents go out to work or one where the mother stays at home?
  • What about the position of men in society, has that changed?
families in the 20 th century
Families in the 20th Century
  • There is evidence that the working class family continued well into the 20th Century.
  • For example in 1950’s Liverpool dock area, in Yorkshire mining towns and in the East end of London.
  • Willmott and Young studied families in the Bethnal Green area of London. (1950’s)

They looked at extended families in Bethnal Green and then they looked at families from Bethnal Green who had been rehoused in Greenliegh, a new council estate in Essex.

  • Their family life had become home-centred and privatised. It was now based on the nuclear family.
  • Living 30 miles from Bethnal Green wives lost regular contact with their mothers and became more dependent on their husbands for companionship and support.
  • Husband were cut off from social contacts in Bethnal Green e.g. going to the pub with work mates, and so became more involved in domestic activities.
goldthorpe and lockwood
Goldthorpe and Lockwood
  • In 1969 Goldthorpe and Lockwood’s did research involving highly paid manual workers in Luton. They worked for Vauxhall.
  • Many had moved to Luton in search of better paid jobs.
  • They led privatised, home-centred lives. The home and the nuclear family were the focus of their leisure activities.
but do we actually have symmetrical families today
But do we actually have symmetrical families today?
  • Willmott and Young claim that families are now symmetrical, but are they?
  • Fiona Devine (1980’s) repeated Goldthorpe and Lockwood’s study of Vauxhall workers in Luton (which found that working class families had become privatised and nuclear) She said that Goldthorpe and Lockwood exaggerated the extent to which the families had become privatised. Most couples still had regular contact with kin, especially parents. Many had been helped by kin to find jobs and housing when moving to the area.

Research on families with both partners in full-time career jobs suggest that these professional wives are still expected to take major responsibility for dealing with childcare arrangements, sick children and housework. However this is the group that Willmott and Young argued would be most likely to display symmetry in marriage.


Criticisms of the view that modern marriages and cohabiting relationships are really more equal.The view that there is more equality in modern family relationships has been subject to very strong criticism, particularly by feminist writers, and there is not really much evidence that the family is now typically "symmetrical". The following summarizes several of these criticisms:1. Inequalities in the division of labour in the household- Surveys suggest that women still perform the majority of domestic tasks around the home, even when they have paid jobs themselves. This is true even among full-time working women, where one would expect to find the greatest degree of equality. 77% of all women took all or most of the responsibility for household food shopping. In 1997 the Office for National Statistics found that women spend twice as long as men on cooking, cleaning, shopping, washing and looking after the children. Housework is the second largest cause of domestic rows, after money. Crude indicators are often used to measure integrated roles, such as shared friends are often seen as evidence of "jointness", but shared friends may mean the male partner's friends, and involve the woman being cut off from her friends, resulting in more dependence on her male partner and greater inequality. Ann Oakley, a feminist sociologist, argues 72% of married men claim to "help their partners in the home in some way other than washing up at least once a week" but this could mean anything from a quick pass of the vacuum cleaner, to just ironing his own trousers.

2. The unequal distribution of power and authority in marriage and cohabitating relationships

3. The effects of housework and childcare on women's careersDomestic labour

4. The emotional side of family life and women's "triple shift" (Paid employment, Housework and childcare, and Emotional work).

the british social attitudes bsa
The British Social Attitudes (BSA)
  • This is a survey based on a representative sample of adults aged 18 and over.
  • The 1986 and 1995 surveys looked at frequency of contact with kin.
  • They indicate a significant decline in contact with kin.
  • The most likely explanation is that more women are working outside the home and so don’t have time to see their mothers so much for example.