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Western University
Sociology 2235
Gale Cassidy

Ch. 1 – Intro to Family Studies (Ambert) Socialization: Process whereby children learn how to think and behave according to the ways of the society and the group in which they are born and raised -Respond according to their personality, needs, experiences, beliefs etc -As a result, society also restructures (reshaped) through socialization of generations Institution: Recognized area of social life organized along a system of widely accepted norms that regulate behaviours -Through time, each society evolves a set of norms that guides bhvr of its members How can families be defined? Statistics Canada: A couple, of any sexual combination, with or without children, married or cohabiting, as well as “a lone parent of any marital status, with at least one child living in the same dwelling,” or a grandparent raising a grandchild. -Focus on voluntariness (“chosen”) + relational aspects Book definition: A social group, institution, and an intergenerational group of individuals related to one another by blood, adoption, or marriage/cohabitation. (Endures over several generations) -Focus on intergenerational dimensions -Reflects current changes but also retains institutional aspect Min requirements: TWO generations in ONE household, the nuclear family, persons living tgt related through another generation such as siblings/cousins -DOES NOT include singles living together even though = household unit -Family of origin/procreation Marriage =/= family -Necessary for care of young and helpless and survival of the species *Page 4, table 1.1 New definitions include number and sex of parents past did not Problems w/ broader definitions: -Overlaps concepts of social and support networks -Social policies designed for family life -Risk of becoming useless/meaningless with broadening -Family membership is an ascribed status thus enduring -Friendship networks are acquired, thus changes overtime Nuclear Families -Most basic -Nuclear family of procreation: when person/couple has a child by birth, adoption or surrogacy -New generation is added Binuclear: divorce, half and half Horizontal: Siblings share household tgt without parents, only one generation is involved Extended Families Ch. 1 – Intro to Family Studies (Ambert) -Relatives Kinship group: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws Multi-generational households: extended families living under one roof -48% of families have grandparents living with a single parent and his/her children -Most newly arrived families more kinship oriented Compradazgo: Latin, friends assimilated into family as godparents -Fictive kinship bonds Polygamy as a Conjugal and Family Type -81% of Canadian adults disapproved polygamy; 90% women, 70% men -Rural, little education, disadvantaged family women more likely to enter polygamous relationship Sex ratio imbalance: as men acquire more wives, not enough potential wives remain Result: wait until they are much older, take a very young bride or those otherwise “unmarriageable” -Agricultural areas can benefit from birth of many sons thus polygamy more common in rural areas -Polygamy outdated because: highly urbanized/technological areas need an educated workforce and women’s labour outside the home -Interpersonal level: power, shared chores, protection, companionship, senior wife -Given that they remain in polygamy friendly societies -Sociocultural context dependent for success of polygamy -Problematic family functioning more characteristic of polygamous families than monogamous -Polygamy key indicator of inequality in societies worldwide Theoretical Perspectives Structural Functionalism -Analyzes a society’s organization, structure and linkages between its various systems -Family fulfills key functions for society: child socialization Analogy: An organism (society) is a system with many subsystems that collaborate or function tgt to optimize its success Structural Functionalism (Talcott Parsons): Theory with assumptions of consensus or equilibrium -Barely addresses inequalities in social structure, inequalities viewed as fulfilling necessary functions for the entire social system -Insufficiently flexible to analyze family developments -Instrumental (father breadwinner) and expressive (mother nurturing) roles not sustainable with paid employment for majority o women and changes in gender ideologies -Also, no longer realistic -Parents must interpenetrate other systems to be successful in their role still TRUE -Structural perspectives explain inequalities Functionalism addresses… Ch. 1 – Intro to Family Studies (Ambert) Dysfunction: Individual level; hyperactivity or characteristic that prevents a child from doing well at school or integrating with peer group -Deficiencies, inability for socialization of children Social Exchange and Rational Theories Utilitarianism: based on assumption of individual self-interests Social Exchange Theory -Focus on individual rational choices, resources -Parties involved in exchange should all receive smth they perceive equivalent to prevent imbalance Distributive justice/fair exchange: one person will have power in relationship while other is at a disadvantage Basic assumption: People interact and make choices to maximize benefits and minimize costs -Resources (spousal) and power (dependence) occupy central position (marital power) -Spouse with alternatives outside marriage weighs their advantages against those secured in current marriage -Gender relations, household division of labour, why people enter, remain in, or leave relationships -Decisions concerning separation, divorce -For women, perceived inequality -Spouse with most alternatives, least committed Contradictions/Weaknesses: Becker’s altruistic perspective: difficult to believe western parents make so many sacrifices for their children based on expectations of rewards -Imbalance of power in favour of children (difficult adolescents) -Contradiction to theory: Social groups; families exist and endure because they allow individuals to maximize their rewards ->Altruistic motives: Duty, moral obligation key motivators -Decisions not always made purposively or objectively Rational Theory -Resources aka capital also key element -Social, human, cultural capital -Capital and community > choice by individuals Human capital -Abilities, skills, education, positive human characteristics inherited or acquired -Impt in knowledge based economies requiring skills shaped by ECE Cultural Capital -Parents general knowledge and aspects of their lifestyle that can promote their children’s achievement Social Capital -Resources that individual families are able to secure on the basis of membership in social networks Ch. 1 – Intro to Family Studies (Ambert) -However, social networks and communities not equal in the resources they can transfer to families -Social resources enhance families’ sense of belonging, child socialization, and the acquisition of human and cultural capital -Social capital; when parents cooperate, agree, and share authority when parental role is supported by the community -Allows children to learn norms effectively -Social closure: social networks closed -> children less subjected to conflicting norms -Friendships, contacts with neighbours, and participation in volunteer work within communities Effective community: When neighbours are willing to take responsibility for all the children in their community -Groups of parents share a particular prosocial set of values, enhances individual parents’ social capital and contributes to the monitoring of all children -Social closure -Collective socialization: Parents are not alone Symbolic Interactionism -Qualitative family researchers -George Herbert Mead (GHM), Herbert Blumer (HB), Erving Goffman (EG) -Theoretical perspective, methodological orientation -Suitable for study of personal and familial phenomena not sufficiently researched yet (emotions) -Self, social self, role occupy a singular position -Developed through other people’s views of them Significant others: People who play an important role in that individuals’ life, ex. Parents Reference groups: Parents, teachers, peers, sports figures, singers, movie stars -Guide for learning roles growing up and will play as adults -Develop sense of self, interpret social contexts Two orientations: (1) Family processes (2) Roles, more structural, heavily influenced by Goffman -Dramaturgy; roles, actors, frontstage, setting from Presentation of everyday self -Role strain reduced when individuals perceive greater consensus in the expectations surrounding their roles -Ex. Parents who perceive their role as well defined, less likely to feel insecure Interactional-Transaction Perspectives -An individual creates his/her own environment, at the interpersonal level, while being shaped by this environment -Socialization is where children
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