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Women and Work Lecture- March 20.doc

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Stephen Reid

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Women and Work Lecture March 20, 2013 Manufacturing Motherhood: Combining Motherhood and Paid Work Conceptualizing the Family 1. Functionalist perspective: looking at the “glue” that holds society together. Family is the hardest society; the way society functions depends on the family itself 2. Feminist perspective: what goes on in families is often tied and a reflection of broader social inequalities 3. Intersectional perspectives: have come out of the feminist movement; family is not homogenous Functionalist perspectives • Murdoch • The family is at the heart of society • Nuclear family is universal • Organic analogy: family is the heart- schools and other institutions rely on the family • Nuclear family helps control sexuality because it provides stability for adults with monogamy • Having a monogamous unit ensures the reproduction of society • Nuclear families aren’t tied to other families and are self- sustaining units and are responsible for the economic provision of eachother • Socialization of adults and children in the family itself to learn norms and values [education] • Parsons: there are two basic functions of the family- primary socialization [socialization of children where children learn to accept the rules and norms of society] stabilization of adult personalities gives them support to deal with situations and stresses of everyday life outside of the family o Because we need to have these two because they are essential functions of an orderly society, these things require different sex roles. One more is instrumental socialization [involves the father connecting the family to outer society via his paid work. Expressive socialization is where the mother teaches children appropriate sex-role behaviours and gender norms so that they can go on and contribute to society in instrumental and expressive ways Critiques of Functionalism Perspective • Doesn’t address intersections such as religion, ethnicity, etc just the family as a whole • Static approach: does not address changes in the family; doesn’t address the role of divorce on the family which changes the nature and function of what is going on in families • Assumption of sex roles; oversimplifies what is necessary for individuals and families to function; doesn’t help us understand why it is that men have to perform this role or why women have to perform the expressive role • Overly optimistic; it ignores power contradictions that happen inside the family; ignores conflict and abuse and gend
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