Sociology Part 2 Lecture 3: Family
Family is valued but seen as threatened
Divorce, teenage pregnancy, violence
We look back at the family in history
Argue: Behaviour is a function
Functional View of Family
Conditional family life: Nuclear family as beneficial
regulates sexual behaviour & reproduction
affection & emotional relatedness
economic unit, confers status
family (especially under capitalism)
economic rather than emotional unit
women as dependent labour
Pre-industrial European family
Not idealize past, but seek out the “facts”
piece it together from Church records, graves, medical reports, etc...
Family hypothesis: pre- industrial family as extended- underlies the nostalgia,
the reality s more complex.
Industrialization leads to isolation of the nuclear family. Grand parents live
separately. In this good or bad? – a problem unlike pre-industrial family
Variable 1: births and deaths – maybe 1 in 3 make it past five! – the rate could be
lower. Many women die in childbirth ( see implications of this in a minute.). Karl
Marx’s daughter died before him. If you made it past five you’re likely to live on.
Small pox is not a pleasant disease to get. If the kid didn’t come from the right
direction, they are most likely to die.
Infant Mortality under 5 (per 1000 births).
Variable 3: household size and composition [who these people are]– crowding. .
Most of them turned out to be smaller, the houses were small. Only the rich had
larger extended family - you need more space, food and money to have a larger
Selling kids into the labor force in exchange of money. The owner often sent
money home. The eldest son was to stay home to inherit whatever they had.
There were also fewer adults expected. Lots of mothers died in childbirth and
often the father died. Back then, if the father got an infection from some sort f
injury they didn’t have antibiotics so they died. Lot of older women married younger men. The reason is former birth control. They didn’t need divorce much.
Because mothers died often, lots of re-marriage created lots of step -children.
Refer to the fairy tales, often step mothers are the bad one – selfish gene. The
basic question was “is my kids okay” . The step children: someone else’s kid, the
children would have to work work work to survive
Homes had virtually no furniture’s, often shared with animals. Freezing cold –
not possible to leave the animals outside. They lived in the house at night. They
only had one room to live in, they have seen births and deaths, sexual relations,
arguments, beating each other. They lived like that. It was all in that place, a very
Variable 3. Children: “good mothering is an invention of modernization” –
Edward Shorter, The making of the modern family
Kids had rashes, due to not having diapers,. In Nova Scotia, 7 year old would
crawl around. The idea was not to get emotionally attached with them. They
called the baby “the thing” . The stronger kids would get more milk unlike the
Variables 4: marriage, peer groups. Marriage was done for money and labor.
Often young men and older women, Older women may be established and that
would help for the survival of the family. Married couple kind of avoided each
other. There wasn’t enough romantic love relationship but rather it was like
beating each other. They would have various punishments for people. Peer
groups: was form of the passionate group of people. More like modern
generation and life was segregated.
Modernization (industrialization) : Differentiation and specialization of
institutions – separate family and work, the factory – wage labor : people are
moving out of rural areas and move to factory based areas.
Differentiation of institutions: differentiated – church family work – separated,
undifferentiated= more close to each other
Urbanization: village to real organization. The cities were bigger and crowed ,
Movement to cities: i.e: factories
Young gain greater freedom – job choice : no job fairs but employers to go to.,
can live on own, emergence of romantic love