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Lecture 2

Sociology 2105A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Nuclear Family, Social Class, Social Learning Theory

Course Code
SOC 2105A/B
Georgios Fthenos

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September 23, 2014
1980s: emerging concerns about changes to the traditional nuclear-family structure which was
dominant during the first half of the 20th century
oConcerns about whether it could survive, there was some evidence that it was coming to
an end, but there was also people saying that it was not coming to an end, but rather
there were becoming more diverse forms of the family
Family remains the most important institution for young people’s lives
Young people are shaped by, and shape, their families
Need to re-evaluate the traditional view that young people have a dependant relationship to the
Family, Social Change and Diversity
Dramatic change in the meaning and experience of family over the last 100 years
oThere has always been a diversity of family forms, but the nuclear family has always
been dominant
Most noted changes to the experience of youth in the 2000’s is extension of living at home
oThis was common in the 19th century
Recurrence of particular family forms over time gives a false impression of continuity
oThe causes, experiences and meanings of these patterns to the participants are not the
Canadian family formation illustrates the extent of social change to the institution of family at
particular points in time
oE.g. Stark changes post 1970s
Increase in age of first marriage, decrease in marriages
Increase in age of first child, decrease in fertility rates
Family formation well into late twenties, early thirties
Considerable change of marital breakdown, usually within the first 1-3 years of
the marriage
Young people are not forming family relationships in the same way that their parents did
Range of household types
oHistorically youth would live in the family home and leave when they are ready to be
oModern youth may still do this, but they tend to still draw on the financial and social
support of their parents
They may also stay in their parents homes longer
Or living with other young people
Structural aging: changes in age composition of population
oBirths, deaths, immigration and emigration are all considered
oThe median age of the Canadian population is 39.4
This is a relatively high median since life expectancy is around 80, but it is
because of the baby boomers
Young people are expected to pay care for seniors while providing for their own
The more people you have at the top of the population pyramid, called grey
power, means the more political power the older people have to make policy
Population aging: increase in the proportion of elderly in a population
oWith a large amount of elderly, there will be a reduction in the labour force, meaning a
decrease in the amount of taxes the government is able to collect, meaning less
government spending on social programs
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