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SOCC31H3 Lecture Notes - Socalled, Industrial Revolution, Robert Sternberg

Course Code
Caroline Barakat

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Lecture 6 Family
Nuclear family:
-cohabitating man and woman who have an appropriate sexual relationship and have at least 2 children
-wife works at home and husband works outside of home and is the primary source of income (traditional)
- there has been a decrease in the nuclear family since the 1940’s
-many moral entrepreneurs:
-moral entrepreneur = someone who makes a living telling society that its falling apart because its taking
an immoral direction
-the family is changing and shifting away from the traditional nuclear family
-marriage rate is decreasing
-divorce rates have been stable for decades but it is very high (~40-50%)
-since the 1950s, divorce is 50% more often than not
-marital breakdown combined with an increase in the number of children born outside of marriage (illegitimate)
-means more divorces, fewer getting married, shift away from the nuclear family, 50% of children today will spend
some time in a single parent set up
-a bit harder on boys than girls because single parent families are mostly led by females
-boys need fathers
-if not, there is a greater likelihood for them to do poorly in school and get into trouble
South Africa:
-in one of the national parks male elephants became more numerous
-they shot the bull elephants
-the young male elephants became rogue elephants because there were no older ones to
keep them in line
-may be a combination of nature vs. nurture
-the family is also changing
-17% married with children
-13.9% lone parents
200630% married without children
39% married with children
-common law is creeping in (people who live together but don’t get married)
-blended families:
-man gets divorced and gets custody of his kids
-woman gets divorced and has her kids
-they get married and blend their families together
1950s traditional nuclear family was called the Cleavor model (refers to an old sitcom husband, wife, 2 boys)
-there was a husband who worked, a wife who stayed at home and did housework and looked after the
-it was the first and only marriage for both
-therefore this is the traditional nuclear family
-today, the traditional nuclear family is a minority family type in Canadian households
-many people say the family is the fundamental unit of society and that social health depends on the family
- controversy: the traditional nuclear family reproduces the class hierarchy, and has been unfriendly to women
Theoretical outlooks on family:
-the family performs several functions
-from functional analysis:
-responsible for regulating sexual activity: what is legitimate and permitted
-economic cooperation: in the past men were stronger and women were incapacitated
when pregnant
-reproduction: in the past, having children was you old age security
-in the past, if you had lots of children, when you get old they will look after you
-thus, there was an economic incentive to have kids

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- there’s a tendency now not to look after their parents when they get old just
put them in an old age home
-emotion support
-family is the first and most important source of primary socialization
-parents teach their children how to integrate into society and how to contribute to society, while looking
after themselves
- sometimes parents have a hard time with this when their kids reach their teenage years and
start to become more independent, and parents become a bit scared
-sometimes children socialize their parents
-siblings socialize each other (especially older brothers and sisters)
-all of this comes free of charge to society
Regulation of sex activity:
-every culture does this
-marriage is encouraged in order to maintain kinship organization with extended family
- kinship organization/network = aunt’s uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc.
-the fundamental unit of any kinship network is the family
-the transmission of property is part of the family
-the incest taboo forbids sexual relations or marriage between certain kin
-some variation in this cross-culturally
-some break it under some special circumstances
Matrilineal Navajo:
-Navajo = aboringinal people, first nations people in America, located in Arizona and New Mexico
- Matrilineal = traces descent through the mother’s line
-Matrilineal Navajo say that sexual relations with any of the mother’s relatives is forbidden
-Canada has a bilateral system
-we trace descent through both mother and father
- for us, the incest taboo applies to both sides
-Patralineal = trace descent through the father
-bilateraltaboo on both sides but more on close family like aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings
- Inca (Mexican), Hawaiian, ancient Egypt permitted brother and sister marriage
Hawaii: nobility brother and sister marriage wanted to keep royal lineage
Ancient Egypt:
- same thing
- brother/sister marriage permitted in the royal family
-violate incest taboo
-in Mexico
-when Europeans (notably the Spanish) arrived they destroyed society
- Inca civilization permitted brother/sister marriages, especially in leading families intended to keep the royal
family pure
Why do we have this regulation of sexual activity? probably both nature and nurture are involved
- Nature
- the incest taboo rules out the possibility of recessive genes becoming too frequent

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- recessive gene: a gene that transmits an undesirable trait
-in order for the trait to be expressed, both mother and father have to possess it (need to
inherit the same recessive gene from both parents)
-therefore, you’re more likely to get it when you marry a close relative
Hybrid Vigour: people that marry other people (unrelated)
- children tend to be more healthy
- Nurture
- prohibition minimizes/reduces sexual competition in the family
- sexual regulation defines kinship rights and obligations, and it prevents the family from collapsing into
chaos (a social reason)
- another social reason the incest taboo forces people to marry outside of family and form alliances with
other groups (therefore, more likely to survive) doesn’t apply as much nowadays
-ex. in tribal and agricultural societies
-marrying outside of family led to broader alliances
Social placement:
-the family is not biologically necessary for people to reproduce
-pair bond both male and female stick around and raise their young
-therefore if two people are doing it, it will be more successful than if only one
-fairly common in animal species as well as in humans
-the family isn’t biologically necessary for reproduction, but it helps reproduction and
makes it more successful
- the family provides social placement
-social identity is transferred from parents to children
-social identity can also be based on race, ethnicity, religion, social class
-these are given to you at birth through the family
-thus there is a preference for legitimate birth
-it provides a stable platform for transmitting social identity (knowing who they come from)
-also important in terms of inheritance rights parent property is passed on to their children
Material and Economic security:
-we often find that the rest of the world doesn’t care about you but when push comes to shove the family provides
financial support, physical protection, and emotional support
-therefore they will help when no one else will
- the family is also a place of violence and conflict (paradox) the family as a paradox
- domestic violence
- people who live in families live longer (especially men)
-unmarried men live ~8 years less
-therefore, the family is a paradox
-it will do things for you in times of crisis but it can also be a violent place to live
Economic cooperation:
-families pool their resources
-parents throw their resources together
-they support their children
-on occasion, children support their aging parents
-men share their income with their wife and vice versa
-sexual division of labourcomplimentarity; men and women complement each other
-not as much today as in the past this was more frequent in the past, before technology
-in agrarian past, the sexual division of labour had more complemetarity to it
-one of the reasons why nuclear families are not as complementary is because women don’t need men as much
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