What is a Family?

‘What is a family?’ is the central question posed by Zach Wahls’ testimony provided here:

Wahls was speaking to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in response to a proposal to define marriage as being that between a man and a woman. Wahls himself was raised by a lesbian couple and argues that they are, “voting for the first time in the history of our state to codify discrimination into our constitution”. After watching the clip (and possibly the interview which follows) students could work in pairs to come up with their own definition of ‘family’. Wider discussions could then address issues and developments such as the changes to marriage law nationally in the US (June 2015), the nature of family life they have experienced and the extent to which friends could be regarded as the new family (useful Guardian article here:

Discover More Friends are the new family

More Resources from Discovering Sociology

Classic Youth Subcultures

Students should be able to draw on examples from a wide range of subcultures, both classic and...


Functionalism and Rites of Passage

A useful overview of the Functionalist view of youth culture can be found below:


Generation Boomerang

Students could be asked to write a timeline of their lives as they anticipate them to be after...



Kirsty Grocott’s article in the Daily Telegraph:


Marxism, Neo-Marxism and Youth

The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) based at Birmingham University produced a ...


Neo Tribes

Some Sociologists suggest that subcultures may no longer exist in the form that they once did. Fo...


Social Class and Jamaican Patois

The following Daily Mail article laments the adoption of Jamaican patois styles of language in...


What is Youth

By way of starting off an investigation into youth subcultures, teachers could pose the proble...


Youth - Ethnicity and David Starkey

David Starkey featured in a Newsnight discussion about the 2011 UK riots. This Guardian articl...


Youth Subcultures and Consumerism

The class could investigate and consider the extent to which they consider the ‘haul girl&r...


Youth Subcultures Introduction

We begin here by looking at ‘what is youth?’, and then the idea of