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Lecture 2

SOCI 247 Lecture 2 Sociology of the Family.docx

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McGill University
Sociology (Arts)
SOCI 247
Elaine Weiner

Sociology of the Family: The Foundations  Kids sometimes can have the greatest insight into what a thing really means  So what does family really mean to you? What do they do for each other? What does that really mean? o Someone who's always there for you, cares for you, you trust o People who brought you o People who you're biologically related to even if they didn't raise you  Family gets used all over the place yet its quite ambiguous o Ex. We're going to treat you like family.  What is family so important? o Most basic institution of society (a recognized realm of social life, that gets organized in terms of widely accepted social norms and regulates what we do) o Primary source of meaningful relationships from birth until death o Primary source of intimacy and need fulfillment for the individual through his/her life o Universal social institution (albeit taking many diverse forms) o Love, commitment, sacrifice, obligations o Symbolic marker of affection and obligation there really is no other term that has that kind of meaning - no parallel to the term family in terms of what it means to us  Family - a social group characterised by a common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction including adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved relationship and one or more children, own or adopted of the sexually cohabiting adults - George Murdock o Heterosexuality is assumed to be standard - this was 1950s, post WW2 (there was a hype about Communism, homosexuality got conflated with communism) , 50s and 60s was a remerging of this new idea of what family was o If we look at this definition today single mothers, divorced couples, childless couples, grandparents who take care of a child, brother or sisters who live together are left out  Family - a small kinship structure
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