FRHD 1020 Lecture 1: Unit 1 - Getting Started and Definitions

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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 1020
Olga Sutherland

FRHD 2010 May 21, 2017 Unit 1: Getting Started and Definitions - Online course notes - Chapter 1: The Family What is a Family? - Definitions of family change according to time and place. - Family of orientation is the family that we were born into and raised in. - Family of procreation is the family that we form through marriage or cohabitation. - Census family: a legal definition of the family used by Statistics Canada including diverse family structures. How does Society Influence Families? Families do not exist in isolation, they are part of a vast social network through membership and participation in their surroundings. Theoretical perspectives are separated according to whether they take a macro or micro perspective: - Macro: a theoretical perspective that looks at the bigger picture and studies how the values of a society affect the family. o The structural functionalist and conflict theories are macro perspectives. - Micro: a theoretical perspective that focuses on individuals or small groups and emphasizes relationships within individual families. o Includes the symbolic interactionist theory, family systems theory, and exchange theory. o The feminist theory and the ecological theory have both macro and micro perspectives. The Family as an Institution – The Structural Functionalist Theory Views the family as an institution among other social institutions, such as school, the workplace, and the health care system. - George Murdock identified four basic functions that families perform: 1. The sexual 2. The economic 3. The reproductive 4. The educational - Current theorists have extended on Murdock’s functions: 1. Reproduction 2. Socialization 3. Social placement 4. Economic support FRHD 2010 May 21, 2017 5. Emotional support - For structure functionalists, when the family performs all 5 of these functions well, social stability results. - This knowledge is passed on to each generation through socialization: o A lifelong process in which the cultural knowledge of how to survive and how to take part in social life is passed on to each generation. - Structural functionalists generally believe that role specialization increase the efficiency of family functioning, in particular, the husband is an instrumental specialist and the wife is an expressive specialist: o Standard North American Family (SNAF) The Family in Conflict – The Conflict Theory The conflict theory is a macro perspective that views the family from the perspective of its relationship to the wider society, but instead of emphasizing positive aspects of the relationship, they stress the negative. - Concerned with power relationships and inequality. Family as Integrating Members – Symbolic Interactionism The symbolic interaction theory is a micro approach for understanding relations between family members and to examine the meanings each sees in other member’s words and actions. - Behaviour and objects gain meaning, or become symbols through this process of interaction. Diversity of Family Structures in Canada - Nuclear Families o Composed of two parents and their one or more biological or adopted children living together. - Extended Families o Composed of parents, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents and other blood relatives living together, or not. - Step, Blended, or Recombined Families o Composed of parents who have divorced their first spouses, remarried someone else and formed a new family that includes children from one or both first marriages and or from the remarriage. - Childless Families o Consisting of a couple. - Lone Parent FRHD 2010 May 21, 2017 o Families composed of a parent, most often a mother, with a child or children. - Cohabitating Couples and Common lay Marriages o Family arrangements that resemble other forms, but without legalized marriage. - Traditional Families o A term that reflects the changing nature of Canadian families in that people tend to use it to refer to their own families or to the type of family they encounter most often. - Same Sex Families o Consisting of two parents of the same sex, and possibly natural or adopted children of one or both partners. Family Structure – Refers to the classification of census families into: 1. Married couples and common-law (same sex or opposite) couples, with or without never-married sons or daughters living with them. 2. Lone parent families (either male or female parent) living with at least one never married son or daughter. Analytic Biases in Family Studies Margrit Eichler (1883) identified four pervasive biases in our thinking about and studying families: 1. Monolithic Bias a. The tendency to think of a family structure on uniformity of experience and a universality of structure and functions. 2. Conservative Bias a. The tendency to largely ignore changes in socio-cultural institutions such as family or to treat apparent changes as temporary rather than central and fundamental. 3. Sexist Bias a. The tendency to assume there is some natural differentiation of functions within families based on sex and that there is a uniformity of experience for all members of the family regardless of sex. 4. Microstructural Bias a. The tendency to ignore impacting and explanatory factors external to the family
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