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SOCA01H3 (591)


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University of Toronto Scarborough
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

Chapter 15: Families Introduction  When people speak about ‘the decline of the family’→ referring to nuclear family  Nuclear family: consists of a cohabiting man & woman who maintain a socially approved sexual relationship & have at least one child  Traditional nuclear family: the wife works w/out pay in the home & the husband works outside the home for money  Only 41% of Canadian families in 2001 took the form of nuclear family  Functionalists believe that rising rates of crime, illegal drug use, poverty & welfare dependency is b/c so many Canadian children are NOT living in 2 parent households w/ [email protected] mothers Functionalism & the Nuclear Ideal Functional Theory  Polygamy: expands the nuclear family “horizontally” by adding 1 or more spouses [usually woman] to the household  Extended family: expands the nuclear family “vertically” by adding another generation—one or more of the spouses’ parents—to the household  Basic building block is the nuclear unit  George Murdock: conducted a famous study of 250 preliterate societies o The nuclear family exists as a distinct & strongly functional group in every society o Nuclear family is based on marriage o Marriage: a socially approved, presumably long-term, sexual & economic union b/w a man & a woman  Involves rights & obligations b/w spouses & b/w spouses and their children 5 functions of Marriage & Nuclear family: 1. Sexual regulation: w/out boundaries that defines legitimate sexual activity, world would be disrupted by people having sex wherever, whenever, w/ whomever 2. Economic cooperation: a man & a woman make an exceptionally efficient cooperating unit a. women→ physically weak→ take care of household b. men→ possess superior strength → work outside to support the family! 3. Reproduction: sex→ birth of a baby a. Children are an investment in the future [their economic value ↑ as they grow older] 4. Socialization: teaching children language, values, beliefs, skills, religion, etc 5. Emotional Support: nuclear family gives its members love, affection, companionship 1 a. Mother → “expressive” role → ensures family’s emotional well being b. Father → “instrumental” role → earning a living outside the family Malak Patel | Chapter 15 Foraging Societies  Families in preliterate, foraging societies: o Ppl subsist by hunting animals & gathering edible plants o Nomadic groups of 100 or fewer people o Gender division of labour → men hunt, women gather o Travel in small camps or bands → band decides everything o Try to keep ratio of children to adults low [too many mouths to feed] o Life is highly cooperative The Canadian Middle Class in the 1950s  Families in urban & suburban middle class Canada in 1950s: o Only 1 person played the role of breadwinner→ husband o Children enjoyed more time playing & leisure time activities o Women stayed home to raise children o David Riesman → called woman’s failure to obey strict gender division of labour a:  “quasi-perversion” o Women’s employment in the paid labour force→ called a “menace” or a “disease” o “marriage boom” → ↑ Canadians lived in married-couple families, ↓ in marriage age o “baby boom”→ families averaged 4 children o “orgy of domesticity” → ↑ attention to child rearing & housework for women th  Throughout the 19 Century: o Divorce rate: # of divorces that occur in a yr for every 1000 ppl in the population  ROSE very slowly o Marriage rate: # of marriages that occur in a yr for every 1000 ppl in the population  FELL o Total fertility rate: avg. # of children that would be born to a woman during her lifetime if she had the same # of children in each age cohort  FELL o Gradually weakening nuclear family! Conflict & Feminist Theories  Many men & women felt coerced into getting married, trapped in their families, unable to achieve harmony, security, & emotional satisfaction  Nuclear family → site of frustration & conflict  Wives reported ↑ed rates of depression, distress, dissatisfaction  b/c of divorce or widowhood, women had to enter paid labour force  Marxist → saw nuclear family as a site of gender conflict [male domination] o Engels argued that only the elimination of private property & creation of economic equality can end nuclear family (wanted communism) 2  Gender Revolution → if romantic love & happiness as bases for marriage  → women’s increased control over reproduction  → women’s increased participation in higher education & paid labour force Malak Patel | Chapter 15 Power & Families [consequences of gender revolution] Love and Mate Selection  Robert Sternberg: The Components of Love level 1. Passion—erotic attraction 2. Intimacy—confiding in others & shared feelings 3. Commitment—intention to remain in the relationship Time  In many societies, love has littrd to do w/ marriage  Marriages typically arranged by 3 parties  Based on calculations intended to maximize prestige, economic benefits, political advantages to bride & groom’s families  “being in love” not an essential prerequisite for a successful marital union  Idea of love came in 18 cent England, early 20 cent b/c of Hollywood  Love essential in individualistic societies  Endogamy: marrying within your own social group 1. Hindu, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish  Exogamy: marrying outside your group 3 Social forces influence whom you’re likely to fall in love w/ & marry: 1. Marriage resources → financial assets, status, values, tastes, knowledge 2. Third parties → parents encourage children to marry their own ethnic grp to preserve culture 3. Demographic & compositional factors → “local” marriage markets→ schools, unis, colleges, places of work, neighbourhoods, bars—degree to which these settings are segregated Marital Satisfaction  Marital stability came to depend more on having a happy rather than a merely a useful marriage o b/c women became more autonomous → freer to leave unhappy marriages o factors → birth control made legel  → ↑ed presence in paid labour force  → divorce laws changed to make divorce easier 5 factors underlying marital satisfaction: 1. Economic forces—money issues 2. Divorce laws—happier when couples can end unhappy marriages, remarry! 3. Family life cycle—highest rate of divorce @ year 5 of marriage →then ↓ i. –low satisfaction when children are born, in teenage years ii. –high satisfaction among children-less couples 4. Housework & Child care—equitable distribution of domestic responsibilities 5. Sex—sexual intercourse enjoyable & frequent among happy couples i. –couples may work harder to resolve other problems 3  Religion has little effect on level of marital satisfaction
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