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Lecture 5

CHYS 2P38 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Nuclear Family, Neoliberalism

Child and Youth Studies
Course Code
Tom O' Neill

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- Wells - UNICEF policy makers ignore race, class and gender as factors that lead
to social exclusion
- They prefer to focus on poverty, weak governance, armed conflict and HIV/AIDS
- Argue that this reflects the neo-liberal agenda of international agencies
-Neo-liberalism: a range of global policies aimed at economic liberalization
- Ex. free trade, reduced taxation, small government, emphasis on individual
- Believe inequality is due to non-modern social practices
- Ex. corruption, political tyranny, distorted ethnic demands and conflict
- Refusal to acknowledge how racism, gender and class structure inequality
-Privatization of poverty - policy makers believe that if someone is poor it is a
private matter/ their own fault
-Universal child - vulnerable/ innocent and contains future potential (concern with
how they will be)
-Neo-liberal child - modeled on an ideal that many children cannot obtain
The Family
- 1950s was a “golden age of domesticity” when the patriarchal, nuclear family was
the norm
- ‘Unless we act quickly, the family as it has been known for 5,000 years will be
gone (Dobson, 2003)
Many changes in the last 5000 years:
- Polygamy: a husband with multiple wives
- Marriage arrangement – marriage as a way of economic advancement
- Extended families – the nuclear family was rare
- Division of labor – not as clear, blurring of gender roles
- Number of children – greater numbers of children due to high mortality rate
- Role of children – contributed to the economic activities of the household
- More diversity now than ever before
Our Conception of The Family
- As an affective institution, based on the bonds of natural relatives
- Affection is created/ socially produced
- Family is also a political/ economic institution, which provides material and social
resources for its members
- Our “affective” conception of the family is very recent – families in the past were
economic unions between men and women, in which children were both assets
and liabilities
- In the past, the family was a productive institution
- Pre-industrial family in Europe featured orphanage, apprenticeship and servitude
as a means to balance production and consumption
- Apprenticeship – a family with too many children would send a few to live with
another family, that child would learn a trade/ craft by working alongside one of
the family members (ex. a carpenter)
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