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Bonnie Fox (74)
Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - Oct 4.docx

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Bonnie Fox

SOC214H1F- Lecture #4 October 4, 2011 Not-So-Nuclear Families: Last week re-cap- foraging/hunting and gathering societies- important starting point for understanding how a lot of different societies are organized appropriate with a Materialist starting point. - Survival strategies- how they organized to survive. We can understand they lived in smaller groups, not nuclear though because only 2 adults would be problematic - Groups are also composed of those who get along with one another, must make decisions on when/where to move, more heads the better, - Collective sense of responsibility for children any woman who is an important gatherer, it is important there are others to help her with child care so she can do her work - Some organized collectively to hunt, some do not, but similarly they share the meat, sharing and reciprocity is essential for survival in these societies What is their strategy for survival? If we understand this we can understand much more A nuclear family would not be able to survive on its own it makes sense there is no private space because doing so would make differences amongst people, thus communal living fosters desire to cooperate with those you live with Nuclear families do exist but in terms of what family is, the family is the larger group, the hunter Montagnais, camp !Kung A materialist approach works well in terms of gaining knowledge of how these people organized selves, and characteristics of family patterns (living in small groups, low birth rates, high levels of individual freedom If you took a structural functionalist approach- the argument, via Parsons, would not work out because a nuclear family is not the best form in this context. On the other hand, it makes sense they live communally, that is a functionalist argument because the way they are living is functional, helps support a collective organization. These arguments are common in sociology, functional arguments specifically, because they make sense when relating patterns. Foxs functionalist argument of hunting and gathering makes sense but only works once the pattern is explained in contrast, if you ask why these did people organize in the way they did? -- it would be hard to answer. So functional approach will make sense with the pattern you already have but if you start from scratch with why? And what are the causes? a functionalist would have a hard time answering this Poor African- American Family Patterns (60s and 70s) I. African-American family patterns - We will use more than just a materialist approach for this analysis! This pattern deserves more approaches A. Is there a different family pattern? What is it? Since the end of slavery in US (1860s) there have been significant differences between Whites and Blacks in terms of family patterns - Black - Higher proportions of lone-parent families (mothers and children) o Higher proportions of babies born outside marriage o (Since the 1940s) lower proportions of people marrying in the low- income population. compared to the White community, lately differences have been increasing. - In Canada we see the same pattern but less so, so the differences between White and Black are like the US but not as exaggerated. - ****The differences between African Americans and the rest of the US population only exist in the low-income parts of the population- only the poor part of the population is different, there are no significant differences between African Americans in middle class or upper class compared to other Americans in terms of family patterns. **** In the U.S. Over of black babies born outside marriage, over half of babies living in lone-parent households. Thus, a different pattern, for low-income African Americans th - It has grown over the 20 century 1900 10% of black babies born outside of marriage vs. 1% of white babies now it is over half compared to 20% of white babies - In Quebec, over half as well same pattern - Higher rates of woman headed households as well with Blacks vs. Whites - Only after 60s did you see a big drop in marriages, so until 60s 75% of all African Americans married but after the 60s marriage dropped in this community. Why? increasingly single parent families became more common as well - 1985 53% involved one parent in African American families vs. 12% of white Americans - Thus we need to talk about poverty because this pattern is connected to it! B. What is the relationship between poverty and the pattern of woman-headed households and births outside marriage? 1) The Culture of Poverty argument - A certain pattern of family life and behaviour associated with that family pattern causes poverty. - The other side turns the causality the other way and says the family pattern is the product of family pattern and poverty 2) Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1965. The Negro Family: The Case for National Action - Daniel was not the first to argue this: this pattern indicates a pathological family, Fraser argued similarly as well. - Problems: o Marriage is unstable families have no men- Therefore headed by woman o Too many children outside of marriage, too expensive to raise o So problematic behaviour patterns produce disorganized families, parents are lazy, do not plan for future, pass those bead behaviour patterns on to children who have the same behaviours vicious cycle of poverty o His point is that social assistance will not help anything, the issue is the people o Head start program- took young children before school and gave them daycare etc. in an effort to stimulate learning, these kids did better inschool but Daniel argued against these programs. He believed we needed to change behaviour and attitudes, this is what George W. Bush proposed as an approach in order to convince people in poor communities to marry. (Marriage solution to problems) The argument: a pathological family, characterized by unstable marriages, an absence of fathers, high rates of woman-headed households, and high rates of birth outside marriage. In short, African-American families are a tangle of pathologies and disorganized; they produce a vicious cycle of poverty FAMILY PATHOLOGY---- INDIVIDUAL PATHOLOGY--- POVERTY 3) The alternative argument: This is behaviour that reflects the conditions of poverty and racism. Poverty and racism are the causes. - William Wilson research on Black ghettos said poverty and unemployment are responsible for different behavioural patterns Is it reasonable to view a family pattern has a source of poverty- cultural poverty argument- - In terms of attitudes, people have a present day attitude, do not know how to plan for the future, sacrifice today save for the future - There is an attitude you live for the present - Casual attitude towards school and work evidence? = look at their track records, in and out jobs Daniels argument- but what is it doing? blaming the individual argument
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