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Sept 16TheorizingResearchingFamily I_13.docx

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SOCI 3660
Amber Gazso

Theorizing and Researching the Family and Family Relations September 16, 2013 Outline * 1. Sociological Perspectives * 2. Research Methods 1. Sociological perspectives I. Structural Theories A) Materialism and/or Conflict Theory: (Marx, Engels) * Changes in family lives reflect material change (e.g. the mode of production – industrialization) * Macro-micro focus * Power differences characterize society at all levels * E.g. Capitalism creates: Exploitation of men in the workforce; Oppression of women B) Political Economy * Assumes the power of the one class over another (social control), capitalist relations of production * Amore concentrated focus on how economic and political processes shape society and history – and thereby the family, families C) Structural Functionalism: (Parsons and Bales) * The social institution of the family harmoniously exists alongside other institutions * The nuclear family performs functions * Hierarchical generations and role specialization within families produces harmony II. Symbolic Interactionism (Mead, Cooley) * Individuals’create their own family realities through micro-level interactions * Families are created, understood, and practiced through symbolic communication, by meanings that are shared * E.g. Individuals “do gender” in their interactions with others; they also “do family” III. Feminist Perspectives * Correct for andocentric biases * Assume inequalities and argue for their correction * See gender and family relations as variable, linked to socio-historical context and other intersections * Families are public and political institutions * Childcare and housework are work IV. Life CourseApproach * Families are micro social groups situated within macro conte
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