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SOC244H5-Lecture#2 (Sept 19).doc

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Lina Samuel

SOC244H4: Sociology of Families September 19 , 2012 Lecture#2: Review Lecture #1: • Structure Functionalist stress integration, shared values and social stability o Main definitions of the family which stem from this perspective o Change in one social institution leads to change in another social institution • Symbolic interactionism o People’s subjective experience o How people feel with they enter or exist relationships o What motivates people to enter or exist relationships The “Enlightenment” / “Age of Reason” • The Enlightenment is characterized as a period of reason, knowledge, science and freedom. A period focused on human happiness and human self-actualization (McDonald, 1993: 9-10) • Rational, scientific, universal civilization was at the heart of the Enlightenment • Women were at the center of the enlightenment- but they were not intended to be at the center • Challenging authority • Major shift in how people saw themselves • The enlightenment was also the age of colonialism- questioning the rights of the indigenous • Some groups of people (European) were allowed with greater freedoms and greater authority however this was not translated to all groups Marxist/Conflict Perspective • Karl Marx (1818-1883) o Witnessed the Industrial Revolution o Roots of human misery and suffering lay in the conflict between two classes: o The family is seen as the “original site for an inequitable division of labour” (German Ideology, 1846). o Society progresses forward through the conflict of groups (those who control the means of production and those who do not) o Conflict propels society forward o Inequitable distribution o Wives and children constitute the first property of men • Dependency- especially on male wages • Under capitalism, rather than consuming what they produced, mechanization and industrial production made it easier for families to purchase their needs for survival in the market place (Mandell and Duffy, 2005: 9). • “According to the materialist conception, the determining factor in history is, in the final instance, the production and reproduction of the immediate essentials of life. This, again, is of a twofold character. On the one side, the production of the means of existence, of articles of food and clothing, dwellings, and of the tools necessary for that production; on the other side, the production of human beings themselves (reproduction), the propagation of the species. The social organization under which the people of a particular historical epoch and a particular country live is determined by both kinds of production: by the stage of development of labor on the on hand and of the family on the other” (Engels, 1942: 5). • Accumulation of private property • From: The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State (1942). • According to Engels: The nuclear, patriarchal family “was the first form of the family based not on natural but on economic conditions, namely on the victory of private property over original naturally developed, common ownership (Marx, Engels, 1976: 239) • His main thesis: inequalities which exist in the modern family is a result of the development of private property o Women as subordinate- doing all the work (activities which subordinate and make them the domestic servants) The Feminist Perspective • Varied, ambivalent, contradictory (at times) • Mary Wollstonecraft in the Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) advocated for equality rights in areas such as education, within marriage, and in the political arena (through voting). o However she did not challenge women’s position in the household o **it was the second wave of feminists that challenged the role of women in the household** o Myth of the happy housewife • “The Enfranchisement of Women” argued for the admission of women “in law and in fact,” to equal, political, civil and social rights…The effects of dividing society into two castes, one ruling and one ruled, were said to be no less than “perversion and demoralization, both to the favoured class and those at whose expense they are favoured”. There ought to be perfect equality between the sexes, permitting no “power or privilege” to the one side, or “disability” to the other (Mill, J.S. and Harriet Taylor Mill, 1851) • “It is easy to see the concrete details that trap the suburban housewife, the continual demands on her time. But the chains that bind her in her trap are chains in her own mind and spirit. They are the chains made up of mistaken ideas and misinterpreted facts, of incomplete truths and unreal choices. They are not easily seen and not easily shaken off…we can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: ‘I want something more than my husband and my children and my home’” (From The Feminine Mystique, Friedan, 1963: 31-32) Liberalism 1. All humans are inherently rational 2. Meritocracy (equal chances to achieve goals through hard work) 3. Equal opportunity 4. Freedom of choice (men and women should have a freedom of choice- control over their bodies- to make their decisions) o (Calixte, 2005: 3) • Critique of Liberal Feminism: o Ignored the different family forms when race, class, ethnicity, sexuality…are considered • Challenges faced by women and groups differ across different races, classes, status groups • Over focus on women of the upper and middle classes o Ignore structural and systemic inequalities within and between different groups of men and women (Calixte, 2005: 11). • A lot of people at the bottom- not all people have an equal chance- but this is ignored- there are systematic inequalities that prevent children of the same age to gain a proper education (example) o Lack of integration Marxist Feminism • The origins of the nuclear family were situated with the social relations of capitalism • Sexual division of labour is now “deeply entrenched in the relations of production of capitalism” (Barrett, 1988: 226). • Exploitative position in the nuclear family • Value of domestic work for women • The Housewife and her Labour Unde
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