SOC 2103 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Ogden Nash, Common Cold, Heredity
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Introducing Families: Concepts and Definitions
“A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the
common cold.” – Ogden Nash
What is the Soc/Ant of the Family?
Examination of primary social groups.
Social forms and structures within a wider society.
oYou cannot talk about family without a wider context.
Does not focus on motivations.
Why Define Family?
Law: This tells us what our obligations are to and for others.
Government services and access.
Social resources: We need a definition in order to know how resources should be allocated and
how they are used.
“Values”: Traditions that are passed down, religious practices, superstitions, gender, family
forms (is it still a family if there are no children?).
Identities: These occupy social forms and come with roles and obligations.
Family as a System
Basic units of marital or family systems are inter-related statuses (positions) and the
expectations (roles) accompanying statuses.
Primary Group Functions
Socialization: Learning the norms of your family and society.
Realization of personal satisfaction: Your family is supposed to support you.
“Social control”: What you can or cannot do, reinforcing the socialization done.
oOstracism is a negative outcome of social control.
E.g. School, work, community.
oThese are things that you don’t learn from home.
Impersonal, segmental, and utilitarian contacts.
Goal oriented: Assistance to fulfil goals comes from these groups.
Family of orientation: Where you were (likely) born and raised.
Family of procreation: When we have an intimate relationship with someone or have children.
Organize marriage and family life.
Defines who your family is, who you are allowed to marry, and who you are allowed to mate
Rights, duties, and obligations of kin positions.
Socially defined: Language operates as a term of reference (affinal kin).
Biologically: By blood (consanguined kin).
Kinship System Functions
Property holding and inheritance.
Housing and residential proximity.
Keeping in touch and gift-giving.
Affection, emotional ties, and primary relationships.
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