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SOCI 100 Lecture Notes - Nuclear Family, Internment Of Japanese Americans, Minivan

Course Code
SOCI 100
Chris Mac Kenzie

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Week 5, Lecture 1
Oct. 6/09
The Family
first main organization/institution of socialization we come into contact: family.
Mother, father, happy. Two kids - boy/girl.
House with lawn,
Dog - golden retriever
Minivan, volvo
always been minority form. We come from different families. But idealized this form.
Family researchers want to know why.
Traditional Nuclear Family
emerged during Enlightenment/1800s - Victorian era
Heyday in 1950s
Families = ideological spaces
When we think about family, think about them as families. Natural, always been
around. What weʼve had to do is politicize the family. Understand the family as a
political/economic form.
farming communities have more kids - put them to work on the farm. < said that the
type of family we have is directly related to our economy
Family shape we experience isnʼt natural, accident. Deliberate construction
Construct it to make sure it deals with economy, type of work we are expected to
politics: dad goes to work. Assume it to be natural but isnʼt.
"socialize kids with prevailing ideologies, systems
Modern/Contemporary Family
All kinds of different family forms e.g. Blended families (divorced, and married again),
single parents (moms), adopted kids, commonlaw, gay/lesbian couples
Historically, family based on kinship
When think of family, think of blood ties
Also community, sense of nurturing, support, unconditional love. Agreement
between parties to live together enjoy life more, live life easier. Donʼt need blood
Whether blood or anything else, itʼs not a legal definition. Family is not a legal
definition - cultural construct. Turned it into law but didnʼt originate that way
Notion that we expect inheritance because of legal norms, but just custom/
basis of family: marriage
Economic cooperation
Normative Sexual activity (monogamy) - regulate sexual behaviour
Child Rearing

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Legitimized/justified through laws/religions/traditions - have a deliberate agenda
Anthropological/historical studies show that traditional nuclear family = not natural/
universal in form
The family form of any historical period is directly related to the dominant
economic and cultural beliefs of the time
Economic, cultural inheritance
then why do we aspire to TNF?
Born into society that for generations has said, to have kids, have to be married.
Society expects us to be married
Collective memories. Look back and see that thatʼs what most families do. Seen as
natural, inevitable
Sociologists as a study - break down family - uncover inconvenient facts
nomads, gatherers
Had families. But more community-oriented
Infanticide well known. Kill offspring to keep some alive
Equal division of labour/power in household
Hunters = men. But 75% of food came from gatherers (women). Shared economic
Child-rearing - looking after kids more egalitarian.
Agricultural Revolution
Establishment of Private Property
Big families. Stay in one place. Have many kids
Infanticide common. Donʼt need 15 kids to work farm. Or send kids away to be
raised by someone else
Parents tended to hold onto farms as long as possibly could. No cultural agreement
that sons/daughters would look after parents.
Industrial Revolution
Family form we recognize is a combination of working class and middle class
Middle class family: emerged in IR.
IR - going out to work for somebody else. Getting hired - come back at end of day.
Tired - working is hard. Desire to go home
Christopher Lasch: described IR family as “a haven in a heartless world.”
When looking at family, see consistent patterns: families moving from country to
Male getting job at factory
Women/children working in factories as well - but surplus. When needed more
labour, brought in women/kids
Most families in cities = poor, working class.
Contributions of the Victorian Working Class to the TNF
1. Teens would stay home - bring wages back to support family
Staying at home. One of big trends: living home until 20s. 1990s - driven by fact
that we move out, then move back home

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Canʼt survive on own as teenager economically. Werenʼt staying at home to be
nurtured/cared for - support family. Same as working on farm
2. Extended families began to emerge - saving money by staying together
Generations living together
Not because itʼs nice to do/based on religious scripture. Done because of economic
necessity. Built cultural idealism around it
Pure survival. Not cultural, religious
3. Womenʼs structurally subordinate position in home
Unless labour needed for specific reason
By having women stay at home - keeping fires burning - structurally subordinating
them into home. Justification
Reality: it was done for specific purpose - for man to come home relax
Provide essential service to economy. Hidden labour
Characteristics of the Victorian Middle Class Family
Middle class able to emerge because of the times. Knowledge gained, processes of
industrialization. Because of processes going on, now have white collar workers.
1. Nuclear unit: working father, domestic mother, children at play
Children can stay home - learn to read/write, play
Beginning of public education system - education = good for society. Working father
making enough to support family, have house. Kids can stay home and be looked
after by mother
Predominantly boys, but girls too to growing extent.
2. Women focusing more exclusively on child rearing
Now, getting extremely marked division of labour. Becoming an issue of morality.
The proper/natural/right place for a woman = in home, not out in working world.
Ideology at play.
Notion of family as ideologocial space. Politics at play.
Can be natural dispositions that women more nurturing than men, but the way
those capacities are used to construct a society. You must stay home and look after
kids BECAUSE youʼre nurturing. Precludes you from doing other things.
3. Small growth in extended families
Only few children, few notions of multigenerational dwelling
4. Monogamy
Cemented in not just social elite, but whatʼs going to become the bulk of society.
Becomes increasingly important - increasingly affluent. Group with inheritance.
Working class - notion of monogamy not as stringently enforced
5. The home as a “private” institution ***
What goes on in home, goes on in home. Public/government have no right to see
whatʼs going on.
Should home be separated from govt intervention/legislation? Economic engine
Idea of child/spousal abuse. Didnʼt exist because not considered a social problem -
private problem. Husbands/wives can work it out themselves
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