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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 Intro to Family, Marriage & Sociological Perspectives.docx

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Sandra Colavecchia

1 Sociology 2U06: Family Soc Sept. 12 2011 Lecture 2: - Bridges of Madison County: o Meryl Streep has to sacrifice her own happiness because leaving will inevitably leave her husband & children to public shaming from their little town o Highlights one of the most salient themes of this course: sociology gives a wider lens to understand the forces that shape what seem to be very personal decisions that we make about our private lives - Choices: o The social landscape of previous generations, ala Meryl Streep, entailed a much narrower set of choices about how their lives can unfold  New generations have new choices  LGBT/Single/Married/Children/Single Mom/Hetero etc.  Divorce is higher  Families have become smaller  Pressures of credentialism means that many young women today are delaying children  New reproductive techs offer more choices  A greater number of Canadians are opting to live alone w/o relationship or family  Same sex, mixed race, mixed faith, cohabitation  Voluntarily childless couples  Voluntarily single parents o This kind of diversity offers us greater opportunity and creates a lot of uncertainty/challenges especially those raised traditionally  Given rise to a lot of public debate over the definition of family  Debate about the role of gov’t in family life - Definitions of Family: o About 50 years ago Socs defined family as the nuclear family o Why are definitions important?  They inform the personal decisions we make  The gov’t’s def impacts who is impacted by policy  Ex: Compassionate Care Program (2004)  Provides financial benefits to a person to take care of a family member who is gravely ill  Who is included: o Your child or the child of your spouse or common-law partner (of at least one year) o Your wife/husband or common-law partner 2 o Your father/mother o Your father’s wife/mother’s husband o The common-law partner of your father/mother  Who is excluded: o Siblings o Grandparents o Aunts & Uncles o Nieces & Nephews  Gov’t has since expanded these criteria to say that you’ll be covered as long as you consider the person a family member  E.x. Osap:  If your parents make too much money you will not qualify, even if they are not supporting you financially  Direct impact on how we live our lives  E.x. Filial Responsibility Laws:  Grown children supporting elderly parents who are in dire financial need, even if they are estranged from their parents  E.x. Gov’t assistance such as welfare or social assistance  Strict eligibility criteria o “Man in the House” rules  If discovered to be cohabiting your assistance may be affected o Problematic assumption that the individual you cohabit with may provide financial support  Turns out there seems to be less blending of finances depending on the blended family situation o i.e. New husband will not contribute as much as the wife if she has bio kids still living with them but he doesn’t o Assumptions about male economic support can be problematic o Ignore the fact that the individual may not offer financial support but other equally important support instead
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