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October 7, 2011.docx

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SOC 233
Kara Somerville

SOC 233 October 7, 2011 Functions of Family (Parsons studied Nuclear Family) Q – How does the family contribute to the maintenance of the larger social system? Q – In what ways is the social insititution of the family affected by its relationship to the larger social system? Positive Negative -Eufunctional - Dysfunctional -One parent (father) in workforce. -Two parents in workforce. Rearing of Children  Socialization; women can teach children how to be well-integrated citizens of society.  Teach them about their future social roles so they can function in society.  Regulate sexual activity; avoid sexual deviance.  Family helps to maintain social organization; parents will teach children social place.  Material (father) and emotional (mother) security. Functions of Family 1. Socialization – Mothers teach children how to be well-integrated citizens of society. 2. Regulate Sexual Activity – Avoid sexual deviance. 3. Material and Emotional Security – Father is material; mother is emotional. Note – It is through our family that we learn about race, class, gender, and all of these have certain placements; INEQUALITY IS FUNCTIONAL. Example – Parent/Child Relationships  How children and roles affect relationships within the family.  How do children affect marital satisfaction over the life cycle?  How do children help to promote relationships between kinship groups (i.e., grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins)?  How do children contribute to and/or affect the relationships between families in a neighbourhood? Note – Review the slide on this. I only added the first three points/questions. Quick Review on Functionalism (thus far):  Macro (structural) – How institutions interrelate and function in society.  Function.  Interdependence and equilibrium – Maintain stability in society through slow changes.  Evolutionary change – Change is gradual and orderly; different parts (i.e., institutions) will slowly adapt to remain functional.  Structures – Social system is having needs in and of itself, not just within institutions.  Consensus – Norms and values; no conflict; nothing would function if we did not share these norms and values. Note – If you do not follow norms and values, there are sanctions put in place to maintain stability. Limitations of Functionalism  Reification of society and social institutions – Treating something like a “thing” (e.g., talking about things as though they are alive).  Tautological reasoning – Circular reasoning; a statement that contains its own proof (e.g., we know something is functional because it exists, and it exists because it is functional).  Cannot explain rapid social change – How do we explain  Implicit support for the political and economic status quo – We keep things the way they are because they’re functional; What about trying to eliminate the inequalities in society (e.g., race, gender)? Robert Merton  Functionalist.  Promoted middle range theories.  His Criticisms: Functional unity, universal functionalism, indispensability.  Introduced concepts “dysfunction,” and “nonfunction.”  Developed concept of deviance. Note- By bringing things to middle range, we are able to study things empirically; more empirically- supported. Merton’s Criticisms on (original) Functionalism: 1.
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