Thursday 21 May – Institutions – The Family

Today we will have a short Zoom at 9.30am. 

a) Please ensure you have done the work from last lesson (including watching the theories video).

b) Read the changes data below.

c) Download the new reader and read the first two pages of the reader.


Changes – the data

Graph 1


Graph 2

fertility rates

Graph 3


Theory reader:

Part 1 Family, Gender and Intimacy Reader

Part 2 Family, Gender and Intimacy Reader

Part 3 Family, Gender and Intimacy Reader

Part 4 Family, Gender and Intimacy Reader

Please read the first two pages of the reader (in Part 1) and focus particularly on the quote with the * next to it.

Tuesday 18 May – Introduction to new unit: Institutions


We have a Zoom today at 10.30am

Lesson focus:

What is an institution?

Why would Sociologists be interested in institutions?

How would you define ‘family’?

Is the family in decline in contemporary Australian society?

Family forms

Changes to the family



Please answer the following questions in your exercise book

a) Use the resource below to explain how family has changed in Australia:

Australian Institute of Family Studies 

b) Why do you think these changes have occurred?

c) How do you fit into this picture?

  • What type of family are you in? (e.g. Nuclear, Single-parent ..)
  • Do you want to get married? Why/why not?
  • At what age would you consider marriage?
  • Do you want to have children? How many?
  • At what age would you consider having your first child? (Explain)
  • How do you think having a child(ren) would affect your work life?
  • What’s more important to you: flexibility, romance, freedom OR stability, companionship and commitment?

d) Watch this video I made for my 2017 Sociology class that presents a introduction to the theories about the institution of family. Take dot point notes on each theory.

Institutions: Stratification Part 2


During today’s lessons we focused on how stratification takes place within the institutions of both family and education.

Stratification is said to begin in the family home. The key argument is whether education continues this stratification process OR whether it allows for social mobility.

The PowerPoint below includes important information on this topic and includes questions which relate to the provided resources.

Stratification family and education Part 2 (PowerPoint)

Class handouts/resources:

The Australian (2011) article

Bowles and Gintis reading

Willis reading

Private v. Public schools funding



Institutions: Stratification


In recent lessons we have started to look at how stratification exists in Australian society. This is the idea that people are placed into different social categories within a hierarchy. Stratification is about class, status and power.

The following PowerPoint is part 1 of our stratification unit. Part 2 will focus on how the family and the education institutions create and maintain stratification.

Stratification family and education Part 1 (PowerPoint)

How social class operates in Australia:

Class in Australia (Research on class)

Institutions: Family


We have started our Institutions unit by looking at the family institution. We have been focusing on how this institution has changed over time. A particular focus has been the transformation of the family form. During the pre-industrial era, the extended family was the dominant form. According to Conflict theorists, the Industrial Revolution resulted in the demise of this family form and the emergence of the nuclear family. The reason the nuclear family form became dominant during this time, according to Conflict theorists, is because it best met the needs of a capitalist society; nuclear families are small and transportable, thus making them flexible in the workforce.

During the post-war era (1945-75) the nuclear family enjoyed major dominance due to the economic instability at the time and the focus on traditional gender roles. Not only was the nuclear family thought to be socially stable, but also ideal for consumerism. The more families, the more products sold. Feminist theorists, on the other hand, explain the dominance of the nuclear family form as being due to the fact that Australian society has and, in many ways, continues to be, a patriarchal society. In other words, a society run by men for men. The traditional nuclear family consists of women fulfilling essential, yet low status, services for society (e.g. childcare, elderly care, and domestic labour). The traditional gender roles also serve to benefit men, as having someone take care of the private realm (home, children etc.) means that one can fully engage with the public realm (career etc.).

In contemporary Australian Society (CAS), the nuclear family has become less dominant, though its ‘prestige’ still remains, less and less people are forming nuclear families. During class today, we looked at just how the nuclear family has changed, from nuclear to what Holmes (2003) would describe as  This is partially due to the Family Law Act (1975) which made it far easier for people to divorce in Australia. Rather than having to prove cruelty, adultery or instability, individuals can now get a divorce through claiming ‘irretrievable damage’, also known as ‘no-fault’ divorce. There are also wider social factors that have lead to the decline of the nuclear family and the rise of a diverse range of family forms.


FamilyChangeStats (Current Australian family statistics)

Students read an extract from Holmes (2003) which attempted to explain the wider social factors that have lead to change in the family. Here are some of their summaries:

Ashleigh Morse
Catherine Marendy
Greta Shelton