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SOCI1003Q_Introduction to Sociological Perspectives-semester 2_Michael Mopas_Winter 2011( Very Useful!)

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SOCI 1003
Michael Mopas

Lecture 1Families The difficulties in defining familyTraditional definitionsA group of people who are related to one another by bonds of blood marriage or adoption who live together form an economic unit and bear and raise childrenNuclear family an adult male adult female and their offspringOften implies marriageWhat are the problems with these definitionsChanges over timeDoesnt include cultural differencesImply heterosexuality marriage childrenprocreation and a common residenceExcludes many groups eg commonlaw partners samesex couples loneparent familiesCalls to expand our definitionEichler 1990Important aspects of families are socialization emotional relationships residence economics sexuality and reproduction however not all of these dimensions need to be presentIllustrates that universal definition of family is highly problematic and undesirable Instead boundaries of concept of family must be fluid to account for changes over time cultural differences and the lack of universallyaccepted and contestation over the definition of this term Theoretical Perspectives on Families Functionalist perspectiveIndividuals are provided with love emotionaleconomic support o Learn values and norms o Social status that your born intoFamily is important in maintaining the stability of society and the wellbeing of individualsEmile Durkheim marriage a microcosm replica of the larger societyTalcott Parsons instrumental vs expressive rolesMales instrumental incomeFemales expressive domestic supportDivision of labour within the family unit allows it to fulfill various functions such as socialization economic and psychological support and provision of social statusCritique Overly conservativeAssigns gender roles on the basis of biology reinforces notion that the nuclear family is normal and functional and therefore other family forms were abnormal and dysfunctional Conflict Perspectives Marx and EngelsFamilies organized to meet the needs of capitalismand to serve ruling class interests families needed to meet daytoday needs of workers and to produce the next generation of workersFamilies are a primary source of inequality an exploitive social institution inequalities in larger society are perpetuated inside familiesHow soAccording to EngelsMaterial conditions determine family life o Means of production wealth and powerThose who are able to provide the necessities of life men have social power eg study by Meg Luxton showed that men feel they have earned special privileges by being the breadwinnersWomen and children dependent on income from menWomen dominated by men in the home in the same manner that workers are dominated by capitalists and managers in factoriesWives exchange domestic labour for economic support of their husbandsHusbands enjoy more power and privilege within the family by doing work that earns money while womens domestic labour is unpaid and therefore devaluedPredicted that oppression of women would end when women moved of the home and into the paid workforce but this clearly hasnt happenedCritique Fails to account for the existence of family problemsinequalities in noncapitalist societies Symbolic InteractionistFocus on microlevel interactionsExplores how individuals shape and experience family lifeExamine how interaction between partners contributes to a shared reality eg newlyweds who construct new identities for themselvesCan look at how family members come to see the roles they play eg role strain experienced by womenCan look at different roles in families mother student etcCan also consider how language shapes the way we understand families eg spousal abuse or domestic violenceCritique Criticized for accepting the idea of families as sites of harmonious relationships Technology and ReproductionFrom birth control to family balancinggenetics choosing how many boys or girls you want to havePreImplantation Genetic Diagnosis PGDidentifies genetic mutations and fixes themDiagnosing genetic diseases including down syndromeSaviour siblings sto 1 kid needs a kidney no one matches ndo 2 kid gets the PGD done and gets a matching kidney born to save their sibling Lecture 2Education and ReligionEducationsocial institution responsible for the systematic transmission of knowledge skills and cultural values within a formally organized structureReligionSystem of beliefs symbols and rituals based on some sacred or supernatural realm that guides human behavior gives meaning to life and unites believers into a communitySimilarities between the two topics o Both are powerful and influential institutions that impart values beliefs and knowledge considered essential to the social production of individual personalities and entire cultures o Both are socializing institutionsCan be studied by sociologists in different waysStudying education sociologicallyFunctionalist approach o Manifest functions open stated and intended goalssocialization transmission of culture social placementchange and social innovation o Latent functions hidden unstated and sometimes unintended consequencesrestricting some activities matchmaking and production of social networks creation of a generation gap o Allocationassigning grades handing out certificates diplomas and degrees acts as a sorting mechanism for future roles in society
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