manner. If you did this for each and every topic area you will be prepared for almost any essayquestion the examiners throw against you! For example under Topic 4: Births there is a questionasked in June 2009 - ‘
Examine the reasons for changes in birth rates and family size since1900.
’ - this you could easily rewrite to become ‘
Examine the reasons for changes in
rates and family size since 1900.’
The essay titles given in the section above
(highlighted in italic blue)
are those that havebeen set in past papers for the current AQA specification. They act as examples for youto ‘invent’ your own questions in each essay topic area also to allow you to ‘spot’ whatquestions may come up in the next exam. NOTE: It is unlikely that the examiners will seta question on an essay topic area that has already been used.
1/ Assess the view that the family is a universal, essential and beneficial social institution.
This is advocating a functionalist view of the family,which sees it as present in all societies andessential and beneficial because it performs vital functions. Murdock is a good starting point andParsons is also important. The short section on the functions of the family is useful as well.There are many ways of criticising the statement using critics of Murdock and Parsons andperspectives which put forward very different views. Both Marxism and feminism see aspects of the family as far from beneficial.
• Murdock• Parsons• Fletcher and Parsons
• Marxism• Feminism• Critics of Murdock• Critics of Parsons• Loss of family functions
The question of whether the family is universal depends on how you define 'the family'. There islots of evidence of increased diversity in family types in Britain, so you can discuss whether alternatives to conventional nuclear families are good for society or not.
2/ Assess the view that the family is still patriarchal