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PSYC 3630 (13)
Erin Ross (13)

Chapter 2

9 Pages

Course Code
PSYC 3630
Erin Ross

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CHAPTER 2: EXPLORING RELATIONSHIPS AND FAMILIES SCIENCE: TRANSCENDING PERSONAL EXPERIENCE o the great variation in family forms and the variety of social settings for family life mean that few of us can rely only on firsthand experience when studying families The Blinders of Personal Experience o Most people grow up in some form of family and know something about what relationships, marriages, and families are although personal experiences provides us with information, it may act as blinders because we assume that our family is normal/typical o therefore, science has developed norms for transcending the blinders of personal experience Scientific Investigation: Removing Blinders o the central aim of scientific investigation is to find out what is actually going on, as opposed to what we assume is happening Science: a logical system that bases knowledge on.systematic observations, and on empirical evidence, facts we verify with our senses the central purpose of the scientific method it is to overcome researches blinder, or biases Scientific Norms o in order to transcend personal biases, scientists follow certain norms publishers are required to evaluate submissions only on merit, never taking into account the researchers social characteristics (race, gender, etc) publishing allows research results to be reviewed and critiqued by others thus making science cumulative an important scientific norm involves having objectivity: the ideal of objective inquiry is to let the facts speak for themselves and not be colored by the personal values and biases of the researcher to do this, scientists use rigorous methods that follow a carefully designed research plan THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE FAMILY o Theoretical perspective: are ways of viewing reality, or as a tool of analysis theyre equivalent to lenses through which observers view, organize, then interpret what they see theoretical perspectives leads family researches to identify those aspects of families and relationships that interest them and suggests possible explanations for why parents and behaviors are the way they are The Family Ecology Perspective o Family ecology perspective: theoretical perspective that explores how a family influences and is influenced by the environments that surround it. A family is interdependent first with its neighborhood, then with its social-cultural environment, and ultimately with the human-built and physical-biological environments. All parts of the model are interrelated and influence one another Contributions and Critiques of the Family Ecology Perspective o the family ecology perspective makes an important contribution today by challenging the idea that family satisfaction or success depends solely on individual effort it also turns our attention to family social policy what may be done about social issues or problems that affect relationships and families o disadvantage: its so broad and inclusive that virtually nothing is left out one research agenda can hardly take into account the families socio-cultural environment on all levels, from the global to the neighborhood The Family Life Course Development Framework o family life course development framework: the concept of the family life course is central, based on the idea that the family changes in fairly predictable ways over time o family life course stages: 1. the addition/subtraction of family members (through birth, death, and leaving home) 2. various stages that the children go through 3. changes in the familys connections with other social institutions (ex. retirement from work, or child entry into school) Contributions and Critiques of the Family Life Course Development Framework o the family life course development framework directs attention to various stages that relationships and families encounter throughout life hence, this perspective encourages us to investigate various family behaviors over time noting how particular life course transitions affect relationships and family interactions o disadvantage: critics note remnants of the traditional tendency within this perspective toward assumptions of life course standardization, possibly suggesting a white, middle- class bias The Structure-Functional Perspective o structure-functional perspective: investigates how a given social structure functions to fill basic societal needs (i.e. looks to the functions that institutions perform for society and the structural form of the institution) families are principally accountable for three vital functions: raise children responsibly, to provide economic support, and to give family members emotional security Social structure refers to the ways that families are patterned/organized that is, the form a family takes Contributions and Critiques of the Structure-Functional Perspective o all social scientists agree on the one basic premise underlying structure-functionalism that families are important social institution performing essential social functions it encourages us to ask how well various forms do in filling basic family needso disadvantage: it dominated family sociology in the 1950s and gave us an unrealistic image of smoothly working families characterized only by shared values the perspective once argued for the functionality of specialized gender roles: the instrumental husband-father who supports the family economically and wields authority inside and outside the family, and the expressive wife-mother- homemaker whose main function is to enhance emotional relations at home and socialize young children the perspective has generally been understood to define the heterosexual nuclear family as the only normal or functional family structure vast majority of family sociologist rarely reference structure-functionalism directly The Interaction-Constructionist Perspective o interaction-constructionist perspective: focuses on internal family dynamics; the ongoing action among and response to one another of family members (focusing on the interaction, face-to-face encounters and relationships of individual who act in awareness to one another) family identity, traditions, and commitment emerge through interaction, with the development of relationships and the generation of rituals recurring practices defined as special and different from the everyday sometimes this perspective explores family role ma
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