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What are the implications for social policy of the changes which have occurred in the structure and dynamics of family life in Britain over the last thirty years Within the study of sociology there are many foundation elements from which we judge when try understand sociological phenomena For example if one is to try and formulate a theory or answer as to why crime exists in society then the most rational course of action would be to analyse the background from where the problem has arisen In the case of crime the most obvious background or foundation elements to study would be that of the employment family structure poverty and deprivation However in an ever and rapidly changing society where roles are becoming less defined and the empowerment of those who previously had no input are the classical sociological yardsticks that we use to use to try and understand and judge sociological phenomena still applicable The aim of this discussion is to analyse one of the most classical sociological institutions that of the family and try and understand how its changing structure over the past thirty years has had implications on todays society but more importantly how it has had implications on the creation and delivery of social policy An effective starting point to try and tackle this complex issue is looking at the changes in family structure in the recent past and how some of the key elements that one associates with the family have changed in meaning For example in the past thirty years marriage has undergone quite a radical transformation both in time and its meaning Marriage in the recent past was the first union and the concept of cohabitation was alien and immoral-the union of men and women was very much put under the pressures of religion and the expectations norms and values of the people with whom they shared society Kiernan 2003 However in modern day society cohabitation has
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