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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 Nov 22.docx

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Bonnie Fox

Sociology 214H1F - Family Patterns Week 9: Dual-Earner Couples November 22, 2011 Chapter 28- read in Fox middle class women when they move from Hong Kong to Toronto- this will be helpful for the assignment (transportation affected family patterns) - How old when they came, other info in first paragraph- I will do this then that then this this is what I will argue I want to argue the following Re-cap from last week and marriage- changes that occurred in family law marriage has changed and we do think it is changing as an institution, because people are marrying later and fewer people are married but also all together over the lifetime fewer people are married. - Two reactions marriage is in decline perhaps even disappearing and there is a panic in this reaction, people becoming increasingly self-centered, divorce rates up, marriage on decline = social problem because family is social bedrock of society! Diversity makes them nervous. When men do not marry women, they are likely to be violent and they argue the crime rate will go up. - The other reaction optimistic- marriage is changing but is just fine, a resilient institution just transformed, Stephanie Coontz argues it is good marriage may not be an automatic step in life- because CHOICE IS valued- marriage is more fair, fulfilling, because people enter it having made clear choice and if it does not work they divorce which is good because they leave- marriage more fragile, optional but also sounder I - Andrew Cherlin The Deinstitutionalization of Marriage- argues that by deinstitutionalization he means social norms governing marriage are not clear anymore, it is not so clear these days how or what your responsibility is when you marry as man or women, how much house work he should do etc. he is saying the norms are not clear, people then have to negotiate how to do this and cannot take parents as model because that old model does not fit the world today, we need to figure out how to do this. He also argues there is a trend going from companion marriage to individualized marriage. Whereas before 20 century companion marriage but if you look at reality in those years, the only way to have sexual relationship was to get married- - people did not have much choice in the 20 century but over time people moved toward a more individualized model where we have development of ethic of expressionist individualism people are more concerned about own happiness, whether they feel fulfilled in relationship - Carla Hackstaff- we are not in a divorce culture in which we have options, can get out of marriage which means people are less willing to restrain selves for preservation of marriage or deny selves, more willing to say this is no making me happy - Cherlin says personal choice- looms large in marital careers peoples history he like Coontz is talking about choice, we increasingly have choice - Use word choice carefully- choice is always shaped by circumstance, opportunities, constraints- - Hesitate to use choice in job market because hazardous description - Caroline Thomas (last week) Canadian family law- talks about how the legal system in this country assumes you have made a choice to marry vs. those who are single make a choice not to marry which is a problematic assumption. She points out there are people who would marry but cannot, not enough money etc. think about social pressures, people not in circumstances where they feel they have money therefore we need to be careful about using choice - More examples- people building career and do not think of marriage till 30s = limited choices - Cherlin also asks why is marriage still popular at all? in the states people ask why do so many people still marry? This would not be a good question because in Quebec many do not marry. But the question why marriage is still popular it is because it has symbolic importance, marker of prestige, symbol of accomplishment o Frank Furstenberg- marriage is al luxury consumer item both talk about people working towards marriage trying out partner/ relationship before marriage o Marriage means they know they can do it! So go forth o This is not just for the rich, for studies of poor people, showing that people want to marry and remains an ideal but the conditions for those who are poor or working class can only do it if they know the conditions are right Another thing found usually women who had children outside marriage and poor, they want to be sure they can support selves and children before they can marry which is interesting because the assumption is that the marriage could still fail so need to have the security of own money - He also argues benefit of enforceable trust you take vows and commitments in public and all friends and relative see, so these vows have more weight so if one does not keep true to the vow you have friends and relatives who saw which gives more security - Andrew Cherlins question (last weeks reading)- what does marriage mean this is interesting to Fox- results of American study 21-38 ages new period of when we make transition to adulthood emerging adulthood it is taking a long time for in this age group to make the transition to adulthood o Milestones for becoming adult but now people stay at home longer, get jobs while at school therefore steps which are more spread out, half hazard in order o Looking at this generation then what is marriage? 4 parts of the US NY, San Diego, Minneapolis and rural Iowa their finding- is that for these people 2 main different meanings for marriage 1) marriage was a stage in the life course that you did automatically after accomplished certain things you did it- inevitable, finish school have money get married, once married- mature and become adult - commitment to be responsibility, mature within it these were the marriage naturalists 2) enter marriage after relationship was thoroughly tested and after you as an individual were clearly and already feeling like an adult finish school, measure of financial independence, these are the people you marry after you accomplish many personal goals feel ready to be an adult, financial independence know how to support self - cohabitation happens before for this group but emotional energy on education and work these people think they have to accomplish a lot before marrying called marriage planners Interesting about study above- differences between two groups? do not find ethnicity differences, none of those differences we always look for but rather difference in the context of which people live in Iowa- people do not go to university, community college, not much to do and still surrounded by small community but for marriage planners they were all in urban areas, who were likely to be marriage planners, they find it hard to finish education and get a good job, do not have the time or money or support to start a marriage still struggling to get financial independence- POINT- main findings aside from 2 different groups- CONTEXTS MATTERS A LOT- If study done in Canada with diversity- you would get different meanings of marriageCaroline Thomas article on Registered domestic partnerships read to look at her argument of how marriage was privileged by law- this is interesting because of legal benefits of being married in Canada- what are these protections? 1) if married you have the right to be supported, not gendered anymore each responsible for own support and partners support 2) upon divorce or separation, you have right to half family property, home 3) right to make health care decisions or health information 4) tax benefits- survivors benefits = common law couples do not have these benefits or protections - Thomas also criticizes notion of choice with marriage - Why we may need a registered domestic partnership legal profession defines marriage where people are committed, give mutual support if you look at this list it applies to other relationships! her argument is they should get the benefits despite not having to get married - Marriage is worrisome despite benefits that some relationships are not entitled to benefits and if people are not getting married because they cannot (cannot afford etc.) Chris Ingraham white weddings provoke you after late 60s and early 70s- white weddings were fewer and fewer because people were having simple ceremonies going to city hall but then it came back, and very strong re-emergence question of why? her 2 points 1) this wonderful day is predicated on the labour many people do and covers over the labour that will go into making
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