- An organised unit of production.
- Family members worked together in agriculture and cottage industries.
- Home and work were not separated.
Stage 2 - The early industrial family
- The family's economic function was taken over by large scale industry.
- Men 'drawn' into industrial work while women did the domestic duties.
- This caused the family to be 'torn apart'.
- Women formed kinship networks to provide them with mutual support.
Stage 3 - The symmetrical / privatised nuclear family
- Emerged in middle class but spread into working class.
- Home centred and privatised.
- Nuclear family is emphasised at the expense of extended family.
- Symmetrical roles of husband and wife, less segregated, more equal.
Stage 1 - production
Stage 3 - consumption. More time with the family was spent.
Reasons for rise in symmetrical family
- Money - increase in male wages and employment in women.
- Decrease in male mortality and unemployment rate.
- Geographical mobility has increased - Study of Bethnal Green
- Less children - enables wives to get jobs. Economical equality between spouses.
- Better living standards - Men were attracted to their homes + more home entertainment.
Stage 3 family has been derived through the process of stratified diffusion.
- Higher classes initiate ideas on family - Pass down to lower classes.
- Working class - shorter working hours, higher standards of living, family life becomes more nuclear and privatised.
- Less need for extended family for mutual aid.
- Devote time and money to home and children.
Stage 4 - The asymmetrical family
- Upper class will be setting the trends for family life.
- Study of sample of managing directors' families. These in theory should diffuse downwards. Managing directors are work-centred rather than home-centred.
- Husbands will be involved in work and domestic duties will be devolved onto wives.
- Couples will spend less time together compared to a privatised family.
Criticisms of Young and Willmott's 4 stages of family life
- Conflict theorist - they believe that family life will get better. They don't address negative aspects of changes in the modern family.
- Sociologists unhappy about stratified diffusion.
- Goldthorpe and Lockwood's study rejected the view that there was convergence between middle and working class value systems.
- Feminist Family isn't symmetrical
- Women still do the housework.
The extended family may be more important then Young and Willmott's picture of the independent nuclear family as shown below.