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Lecture

Couples and Their Networks


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101Y1
Professor
Xing

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Couples and Their Networks (July 8)
For Exam:
Focus on networks & marital boud
How does network change in daily process
Marital bonds are embedded in their social networks, which include both relatives and friends
Among all the social ties, marital bonds are the central, although now getting more vulnerable (most
important, most central, most intimate, most enduring = covers all aspects of lives)
Contacts
The nuclear families are not isolated, but they have regular contacts with their friends and relatives
In earlier periods, their networks were more localized, yet today, networks of friends and kin are more
geographically dispersed
i.From face-to-face interaction to letters, phone calls, and emails
ii.From the local to the national and even international
Great variations exist in the amount of pattern of couples networks (daily or casually; friends or
relatives)
Women usually have more contacts with kin than men
Exchanges (financial, materials including services, and psychological)
In many cases, important exchanges involve immediate kinship circles drawn from the couples
families of origin (parents and siblings) and their own children
Financial and domestic help
i.Mostly from parents to children, based on status (sharing genes means a lot = influences ones
personal identity)
ii.Very few from other relatives and siblings
Assistances from friendships are based on affinity and centered on leisure-time activities, informal
sociability, companionship, and expressive support (=psychological network)
Exchanges between couples and their networks can be positive or negative, supports or controls,
problems or conflicts
Psychological networks
Psychological and emotional supports and cognitive importance in the development of personal
identity
Not necessarily overlapped with interaction of networks (only 25%)
Families as ponds of orientational others, by social comparison, play significant roles in
peoples identity development
The cognitive significance of friends depends on gender and social status (voluntary choice)
Voluntary and imposed networks
Family ties based on blood are more durable and imposed? Friends can be chosen and abandoned and
are voluntary?
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