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sociol Families.doc

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McMaster University
Sandra Colavecchia

Sociology Oct 11 - Families Key issues • Definitions of families and marriage and implication • Application of four sociological paradigms • Social history of families • Contemporary trends • Social policy Defining families • Definitions of family shape government. Social policy and inform the decisions we make about how we live our lives Compassionate care program: • Your child or the child of your spouse or common-law partner • Your wife or husband or common law partner • Your father or mother • Your fathers wife of mothers husband • The common law partner of you father or mother Definitions and social policy • Policies that assume financial support (eg. Filial responsibility laws) • Policies can deter relationship formation • Defining marriage A sociological perspective • Families are socially constructed and change over time and place • Inclusive definitions emphasizing social reproduction (caring work) Four paradigms Functionalism • Heterosexual nuclear family; sexual divisional of labour • Husbands: instrumental role • Wives: expressive role • 5functions of families, Talcott Parsons: Reproduction Socialization Economic cooperation Emotional support Regulating sexual activity Conflict theory • Impact of industrialization: families were no longer units of production, but units of consumptions • Frederick Engels: emergence of private property resulted in control over women's fidelity Feminism • Meg Luxton: studying women's unpaid labour • Oakley: house work • Devault: feeding the family • Walter: thinking about the baby (family life) • Develop the concept of patriarchy Symbolic interactionalism • How we actively create family • Weddings with rings and gowns Social history of families Hunting and gathering • Non-privatized households • Fluid gender roles Pre-industrial families • Household composition determined by labour needs: husbands and wives are economic partners Industrialization • Separation of public and private spheres: cooking and cleaning for women, worried about daughters in workplace • New ideologies emerge among more aff
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