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NUR1 221 Lecture Notes - Stephanie Coontz, Fictive Kinship, Nuclear Family

Course Code
NUR1 221
Sebastien Breau

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Family definition
According to Stephanie Coontz: family originally meant band of slaves
Murdock’s definition:
o “Social group characterized by common residence, economic co-operation and
reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially
approved sexual relationship and one or more children, own or adopted of the sexually
cohabiting adults”
Assumptions: common residence, economic cooperation, reproduction, sexuality
Family studies: anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, public health policies,
psychology, nursing, religion, law
Tracking family diversity
Patrilocal – oldest brother is authority of all siblings and spouses
Stem – oldest son and family live with parents becoming an extended family
Household in 17th century included boarders, servants- common residence under authority of
household head rather than blood relatedness
Descent group – one of inheriting priviledge and property
Common description of a married couple with co-resident children was distinguished from
household resident or kin only in 19th century
Emotional meanings and psychological dynamics
Legitimacy of children
Healthy parent –child bonding – exchange and fostering of children as ways of cementing
social ties
Same sex identification
Parenting techniques and roles and responsibilities i.e. weddings
Marital relationships 19th century – closest bonds of middle-class women were with other
women rather than their husbands (same as men who operated on a different sexual
Colonial Family – 18th – 19th
First Nations/Aboriginal Industrialization in 19th
French/British families Assimilation and eradication of
First Nation’s culture
Wage workers out of home
Colonial values under British
Black families – kinship, extended
families, role reversal
Middle-class nuclear family
orientation – child care (less
child labour)
Marriage – 19th Century Early 20th Century Consumer Post-Modern – 21st Century
Patrilocal – stem 14th
Industrialization – diverse forms Crisis of early 20th century
Household 17th – 19th
Colonial family - kinship Modern-Post 1950’s – traditional
Descent group 1970’s
Patrilocal – 14th
Descent Group – Privilege Matrilineal - Patrilineal
Stem-extended to
17th century – man’s offspring with
wife extra
Mediterranean values
Household 17th – 19th
19th century – couple with children Polynesia and Europe (16th century)
First Nations – Cree and Iroquois

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Fictive kinship ties Chinese families (head tax) Lower class – women, children
working in factories
Patriarchal authority European immigration
Family relations based on
Mormon immigration (polygamy
Disobedience punished
European settlers had extensive property, wealth and inheritance rights and the distribution
of such varied among colonial families
Poor colonists tended to congregate in propertied households as apprentices, servants or
New France/ Quebec under British rule
oNuclear family structure in farming communities with large families
oChurch controlled education and promoted gender specific curriculum
oPronatal stance
oMarriage at a younger age and no divorce (family solidarity more important than
oPatriarchal family with seigneurial law
Tenant-controlled land needing more sons.
oMassive immigration with entire families
oFaster urbanization, industrialization than in Quebec
oRight to private property and transition to capitalist and industrial society
oNuclear family structure, social status with households and intimate connection between
family life and production.
British families
oChristian principles
oFathers and husbands owned property and were responsible for subservient children and
wives custody of moral character as well as economic well-being
oBritish common law gave legal rights to men as heads of family
oDivorce was possible after 1939
Men received better treatment from law retaining custody of children
Emergence of wage labor, a national market economy and the specialization of many
occupations and professions from 1820’s.
oApprentices, journeymen and independent producers were replaced by wage workers.
Married women’s traditional household production taken over by unmarried girls working in
A growing number of middle-class families developed more private nuclear family orientation,
keeping children at home longer
A new division of labor appeared among middle-class families
1840’s – Victorian era
oMiddle-class notions of women being naturally endowed to provide the moral education of
their children and to nurture them became widespread.
oNew ideology of parenting placed mothers at emotional center of family life.
Working class families were not able to adopt these changes
oWorked in textile mills or factories or as domestic servants.
oDepended on support networks of communities, neighborhoods and took in lodgers or
Family forms diverged in working class to single person and single-parent households.
Early 20th Century
20th Century Family Values Crises – 1930’s – 1940’s
1920’s male breadwinner,
female homemaker, child in
Self-sufficient Marriage and fertility rate fell
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