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SOC 200 Lec 1-5

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SOC 200
Addie Nelson

SOC 200 – MARRIAGE & FAMILIES Lecture 1: What is a Family?  Edmund Leach: “the cereal-packet norm family”, the image of a family that is standard in advertisement for breakfast cereals. Depicts father sitting at head of table, smiling mother whose duties revolve around caring for other members of household, beautiful children. Potent image because it is in the vision of “home sweet home” or “home-y ness”. Portrayed as safe harbor against cruel and heartless world. The scene that the family portrays is like a Norman Rockwell painting. Dad cuts turkey, children frolicking with family pet. This particular vision of family that has been shown in groups such as family coalition party, Christian heritage party, real women of Canada and the like. In US, this image has been shown by Republican party in every presidential election since 1970s. In England, the conservative party pointedly advertised as “party of the family”, concerned with well-being of traditional family.  Family sociologists are fond of arguing that a natural type of grouping of depicting the family through the imagery of “cereal packet norm family” is a privileging of a particular set of beliefs about men and women and social roles, of beliefs about most desirable sexual behaviours of men and women, of beliefs about procreation and fertility, of beliefs about children and optimal environments and socialization. All these intersect in discussions about the family.  Married families are exemplary of family and distinguish real families from other intimate groupings. They may also suggest that by drawing attention to marriage and the family that they may be encouraging families to conceptualize marriage, encourage students to compare intimate relationships with reference to supposed norm of lawfully married heterosexual couple with biological children that live in common household.  Dorothy Smith: the “standard north American family” (SNAF) is understood as an ideological code that attempts to ensure that we think about it in a way presumes that real families will have a certain set of attributes and that these attributes define the family.  “I am using the term “ideological code” as an analogy to “genetic code”. Genetic codes are orderings of the chemical constituents of DNA molecules that transmit info to cells, reproducing in the cells the original ordering. By analogy, and ideological code is a schema that replicates its organization in multiple and various sites…. An ideological code can generate the same order in widely different settings of talk or writing- in legislative, social, scientific, and administrative settings, in popular writing, TV ads, or whatever. The SNAF is an ideological code in this sense.” – Dorothy Smith  Nuclear family: the conventional household unit in modern society; composed of a man and woman in a stable marital relationship, with their dependent children.  Extended family: a household unit where more than one generation of husbands and wives reside with their offspring.  Reconstituted family: family units comprising step-parents as a consequence of divorce or remarriage.  Kinship groups: an anthropological term referring to groups who are related by marriage or blood.  Conjugal relationship: the relationship between spouses within marriage.  Unilineal descent: an anthropological term used to describe a line of descent of people realted by blood acquired through either the male line (patriliny) or the female line (matriliny).  Vetrilocal vs uxorilocal rules of residence e.g. physiological paternity among the Trobiand Islanders: “open the way” e.g. maternity among the Tikopia of Polynesia: “shelter house” e.g. intrafamilial sexual activity among the Kachin of Burma: incest vs adultery.  Functionalism: maintains that the persistence of any social institution is explained in terms of the benefits it provides for both individuals and the society in which they live.  Values of ascription and particularism vs achievement and universalism.  Public sphere: arena outside the home and family, and the kinds of activities associated with paid work.  Domestic sphere: arena of activity associated with the household and family life.  Instrumental: in relation to the family, the term Parsons uses to describe the husband’s role of making material provision for his family.  Expressive: in relation to the family, the term Parsons uses to describe the wife’s roles of providing for the emotional needs of her family.  A monolithic bias: treating the family as a monolithic structure by emphasizing uniformity of experience and universality of functions and by doing so, under-representing the diversity of family forms that actually exist in any given society.  A conservative bias: by providing only a romanticized view of the nuclear family and regarding possible change as ephemeral.  A sexist bias: assuming that there is a natural division of functions between the sexes.  An ageist bias: by focusing almost exclusively upon exchanges between adults and largely excluding children and the elderly from analysis.  A racist bias: devaluing or outright ignoring families of culturally or ethnically non-dominant groups.  A heterosexist bias: denying family status to lesbian or gay families.  The Vatican, “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons” (2003): “The absence of sexual complementary in these [homosexual] unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by such persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.”  “Canadian Psychological Association” (2003): “There are essentially no differences in the psychosocial development, gender identity or sexual orientation between the children of gay or lesbian parents and the children of heterosexual parents… Statements that children of gay and lesbian parents have more and significant problems in the areas of psychosocial or gender development and identity than do the children of heterosexual parents have no support from the scientific literature.”  “Scripting”: not all of the scripts that we may choose are likely to receive equal degrees of social validation and acceptance. Census Year Historical Content, changes in census enumeration 1921 WWI, large numbers of war widows, first time census distinguishes between households and families. 1931 Great Depression, marriage and fertility rates decline, reference to food, shared tables and housekeeping are dropped from census, eradicating hints of women’s domestic labour, single-parent heads of households counted for the first time. 1951 Baby Boom (1946-1965), fertility rates increase, first time the census clearly makes it possible for single parents with children living with other families to be separately counted. 1981 Legacy of the sexual, gender and human potential revolutions, emphasis upon gender equality and personal freedom, first time common-law unions are enumerated. 1996 Majority of Canadian married women employed, number of married women employed, number of hours spent doing unpaid housework asked for the first time in this consensus.  A “Census Family”: 1991: Refers to a non-married couple (with or without sons/daughters or either or both spouses) or a lone parent of any marital status, with at elast one never-married son or daughter living in the same dwelling. 2001: Refers to a married couple (with or without children of either or both spouses), a couple living common-law (with or without children of either or both partners) or a lone parent of any marital status with at least one child living in the same dwelling. A couple living common-law may be of opposite of same sex. “Children” in a census family include grandchildren living with grandparents but with no parents present. Lecture 3  “hot sex on wedding night”, following sex tape of Pamela Anderson, mind blowing orgasms, hubby falls off chandelier and rendered incurably infertile. This is not grounds for a marriage to be annulled.  An annulment on grounds of sexual incompacity is not granted because spouses can’t. Legal definition of non consummation of marriage, one of spouses cannot perform sexual intercourse. The possibility of procreation and the achievement of sexual pleasure are not necessary. Ejaculation is important in relation to demonstrating sexual capacity or lack thereof. Inability to consummate must exist at time of marriage, must be incurable, if you have bore a child with husband, this does not conclusively prove that he is impotent, legally speaking. If you could prove that the child was born through artificial semination or without penetration (turkey baster), you could have a child that is fertilized by your spouse but be able or eligible to get an annulment on grounds of sexual incapacity.  Females: takes form of extreme repugnance or psychological repulsion to the notion of having sexual intercourse with the husband.  Case: Canada. Husband applied for annulment because his wife refused to have sex with him. He said he made her feel sick. She disliked him so much her response to him was phobic. Had this woman been asked to imagine herself with various life forms, she might have ranked sexual attractiveness allure that below a squid or porcupine. Since both wife and husband were both capable of sexual relations (she was a slut before marriage), no annulment was granted. Legal principles, this case was wrongfully decided, because if she had such an intense repulsion, it qualified as a clinical phobia, then that intensity of emotion should have tipped scales in husband’s favour and resulted in annulment.  How do you prove non-consummation? In past, if was assumed that sexual incapacity and non consummation were easy proven- what you did was ask wife to go along to doctor and he would perform exam and issue certificate that says woman is still a virgin or not. Assumed that women would be virginal upon marriage and they would surrender maidenhood (hymen) at same time she married and gave up maiden name. If there was physical evidence coupled with legal evidence, this constituted as sexual incapacity and non-consummation.  Women in Canada are more likely to hang onto maiden name than maiden hood. This intertwines 2 social trends. First social trend is the increasing prevalence of women in Canada to retain maiden names. This is facilitated by the fact that outside of Quebec, name change upon marriage is a social custom. It is not a legal requirement. In Quebec, it is mandatory in ’81 that women retain the name that they were registered with at birth – can’t legally change it. This fact would promote retention of birth names in law, in relation to legal affairs, but for purpose of continuity in social affairs. Second social trend that has made this medical validation, has made the acceptance of pre-marital sex. A study in 1965 in UWO reported that just over 1/3 of undergraduate males and 15% of undergraduate females had engaged in pre- marital sex. This trend has been greater in relation to women than men. 1972 UoT, ½ male undergrads and 40% female undergrads had engaged in sex. 6 years later at UoT, rates had risen to 3/5 males and 60% females. By end of 80s, 8/10 of this age engaging in pre-marital sex.  When non-consummation is alleged, medical certificates of virginity are still asked for. When a defendant after being asked refuses to submit to a medical exam, it is legally questionable whether court has power to order them to submit to an exam to submit to this. Like a lie detector test – a refusal may be significant even if the test is seemingly meaningless.  The refusal of sexual relations after a prolonged time can also be legal grounds for divorce on grounds of mental cruelty. Married persons cannot force their spouse to have sex with them (still rape). Any attempt to force sex on another person is liable to result in the person being charged with sexual assault.  In Canada, if you cant to have a vasectomy (man) or tubes tied (female), you have the right to control your own reproductive life including your ability to have children.  There was once a requirement in Canadian Family Law that marriage was between opposite sexes. There was never a statutory definition of marriage in this country that marriage was between persons of the opposite sex, rather it was taken for granted.  British case: 1866. Hyde vs. Hyde and Woodmansee. “Opposite-sex ‘requirement’?” This case didn’t investigate the legality or same sex persons marrying at all, rather it was concerned with examining the legal effect of a polygamist marriage in Utah, and in this context, talking about polygamy, that the case resulted in a memorable voicing of the opinion that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.  S
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