SOCA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Nuclear Family

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22 Dec 2010
Sociology Lecture
Families contd
Family is functional because it promotes eco cooperation
Particularism Affect used by parsons
You are given special consideration by your parents whereas the larger society is
based on universalism and impersonality
Parents are more likely to overlook faults and mistakes whereas the wider
community does not
Family is there to provide emotional support
Families also are different as they pool financial resources
The closest relationship in the world can very well be between mother and child
Children will support their parents in old age
There is a sexual division of labour in the family, man does strength work that a
woman cannot do
Now with technology women can do most things that men can do in the home
Complementarity ^ men do some work and women do some that complement each
The functional approach tends to overlook the problems of married life
Violence and conflict are common to the family
The family is a paradox b/c it has positive and negative aspects
For instance in Japan in 1970 20% of women married by the age of 30, now 40%
married by the age of 30
Why?^ Patriarchy
Women stay single to pursue their own career
Men are not as inclined to marry b/c they claim family law is biased against men
Some men try to get around this by getting a pre-nuptial agreement
Conflict and feminist approach to the family
People inherit the social standing of their parents
According to this point of view, Engles book Origin of the family, higher class men
want to transmit their land to their sons
Functionalists see that this inheritance gives people their identity
Second defect in the family is patriarchy
Family promotes patriarchy
Families transform women to sexual property of men (refers to traditional nuclear
A century ago the earnings of the wife belonged to the husband
Canadian women with at least one child under five spend 5.3 hours worth of
housework a day
Husbands spend 3
Feminists and conflict theorists are critical of this^
The family promotes racial and ethnic categories
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The family props up the ethnic hierarchy, who you should and should not marry
Endogamy- inside your ethnic group
Exogamy-outside your group
Family has many faults according to the conflict feminist approach
Soviet Union- when communist revolution took over the family was destroyed and
had to reinstate it
The families are important when it comes to socializing the children
Problem with the patriarchy argument in terms of housework, men spend more time
in the labour market
Conflict theorists dont like to mention ^
The family may still be patriarchal but the responsibilities are complementary
Family is based on legal and constitutional equality
Anti-family bias- not produced viable alternative to the family
We like to know where we come from
Adopted children spend time to find their biological parents
Other family forms that exclude biological parents fail to provide these needs of
these children
Conf-fem theorists say mud is thicker than water, bio-parents are compelling and
you cannot get rid of them
Stages of family life
Arranged marriages will take place if the society views marriage as inappropriate
for children to decide upon
Arranged marriage occurs between two extended families of the same standing
People tend to be emotionally prepared for married life
Personal compatibility tends not to be as important as cultural compatibility
Love as important factor in choice of marriage partner first gained currency in 18th-
century England with rise of liberalism and individualism
Nuclear family has less influence than an extended family
The smaller the family gets the amount of social pressure that the family can use
Nuclear families fosters individualism (I will choose my own partner)
Under tradition the family holds a plot of land, children depend on parents for
economic survival
Industrialization makes it so we do not rely on land
When people are economically independent they tend to be mentally independent
When you operate in a labour market you are self-sufficient
Affection and sexual passion becomes the base for marriage
We have stories like Cinderella, Harlequin Romance Novels
Love motivates people to leave the next and start a family of their own
Love is an unstable foundation for marriage
Higher rates of divorce
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