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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - Jan. 31, 2013.docx

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Ivanka Knezevic

Families – governmental definitions - Governments generally encourage heterosexual marriage and childbearing because they provide citizens, taxpayers, voters, consumers, and workers - Census family: heterosexual or homosexual couple with or without biological or adopted children, or a sole parent with children - Nuclear and extended family - Baker: a modified extended family does not share a dwelling, but shares resources - Stark. 1974. All Our Kin: Aid to Families with Dependent Children makes presence of men, in conditions of unstable employment, irrational. Family is based on a network of female relatives who share resources The Traditional Nuclear Family - The traditional nuclear family is composed of: o A father-provider o A mother-homemaker o At least one natural or adopted child - Parsons: economically efficient, because the man is normally the highest-wage earner. It would be economically irrational of him to spend potential working time on unpaid household and child care Other types of families - Foraging Societies: children belong to a tribe/clan (not to individual parents); collective responsibility for children - Married without Children - Common Law Couples - Same Sex Marriages - Lone Parent Families - Astronaut/Transnational Families (e.g. Hong Kong and Vancouver) Families – a sociological definition - Family is a set of relationships people create to share resources daily, thus ensuring their own and their children’s welfare, and socially reproducing their society - Focus: family processes (same as Baker) - Family processes: substantive relationships among members and their ability to satisfy the members’ biological, psychological, economic and social needs - Family structure: membership and formal relationships among members - Family-values ideology assumes primacy of family structure: only one family structure is adequate to raising of children, and it can be individually chosen Sociological theories of the family 1. The political economy (Marxist and neo-Marxist) approach 2. Structuralist approach 3. Symbolic-interactionist approach (Baker: social constructionist) - Knezevic: relies on qualitative interviewing and field observation – NOT experiments. Social constructionism is a neo-Marxist theory: actors’ power determines acceptance of their views 4. Feminist theories 5. Post-modernist approaches (Baker: post-structuralism): focus on relativity of individual experiences of family, influenced by vernacular and political discourses - Knezevic: post-structuralism emphasizes limitations of structural analysis and its concepts. It is NOT relativist The structuralist theory of family - Nuclear family is the universal family form becau
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