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Midterm Review

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Sandra Colavecchia

Sociology 2U06 Midterm Review Defining Families:  Chapter 1 Luxton, Fox “Conceptualizing Family” o “…relationships that bring people together on an ongoing and daily basis to share resources for the sake of caring for children and each other.” o People actively create their own families  Chapter 2 Felicity Edholm “The Unnatural Family” o Family is not biological but socially constructed o Nuclear family is not universal o Notion of “blood ties” is not universal o Incest taboo is nearly universal o Social definitions is critical in determining sexual relationships that are incestuous  Definitions of family and marriage impact social policy and the personal decisions we make about our intimate relationships and families o Government uses definitions of family in creating social policy (ie. Compassionate Care Program)  Social reproduction o Physical needs o Emotional support o Socialization of children  Families as socially constructed (ie. Edholm: parent-child bond, rules around incest, conception)  Historical and cross-cultural variation in families  Also covered by Baker, chapter 1 o Extended families, polygamy, arranged marriages, patterns of authority and descent Trends in Family Life:  Chapter 1, Baker  Chapter 12, Fox  Chapter 1, Becker  Increased Diversity  Delayed marriage o Married-couple families are most common but are declining o Most people are postponing or foregoing marriage o Increased age at first marriage  Increasing divorce o Increased through the 1960-1980s o Blended families o A lot of research on the impact of divorce on children o Second marriages have higher rates of divorce  Declining fertility  Increasing cohabitation o Increasing across all ages, especially for younger people  Increasing lone-parent families  Delayed home-leaving  Increasing same-sex families Sociological Imagination and Sociological Theories  Chapter 2, Baker  Chapter 2, Becker  Concept of the sociological imagination – C. Wright Mills  Main Sociological Paradigms: o Structural Functionalism (order theory; macro)  Connection to biological/essentialist perspectives  Stability, equilibrium, consensus, functionality  View of families (social institution):  Heterosexual nuclear family is “natural”  Reproduction requires a man and a woman  Highlights the differences between men and women  Social institutions are interrelated and interconnected  Idea of consensus has been criticized  Not paying attention to the conflicts in society  Too conservative  Emile Durkheim  Structural Functionalist: Later 1800 – early 1900  Nuclear family is the most ideal because the sexual division of labour is functional for families and society  Criticized for the nuclear family  Criticized for not looking at the interest of individual family members  Justifies gender based inequalities  Talcott Parsons  Structural Functionalist: 1950s  Nuclear family is ideal  Strict sexual division of labour needed  Women performing the expressive role (nurturing children, emotional support)  Men performing the instrumental role (financial support)  Many institutions taking over the function of families (ie. Schools)  Women’s role not viewed as work  Bronislav Malinowski  Structural Functionalist: late 19 century – early 20 century  Nuclear family is universal  Believed men and women are biologically, psychologically and socially different o Conflict Theory (change theory; macro)  Karl Marx; economic conditions  Class conflict  Our material conditions of life determine how we view society  Feels workers are exploited  Critique: not all of us are victims of the social class structure, many of us can overcome it  Focus on class based inequalities and overlooking other inequalities  Production moves outside the home during the Industrial Revolution  Separation between public and private  Critique: focussed on paid work and ignoring “women’s” work  Frederick Engels  198s  Connections between paternity, private property, nuclear family and monogamy o Control women’s fidelity so men can make sure their property goes to their biological offspring  Marxist Feminist Theory  Sociologists like Meg Luxton argue that unpaid labour is essential for capitalism  Identifies capitalism as the primary source of women’s repression  Critique: Scholars that have looked at non-capitalist societies still see gender based inequalities  Focus is still on class based inequalities, not focusing on other inequalities  Not inclusive of all women o Symbolic Interactionism (change theory; micro)  Interactions create society – subjectivity  Critique: puts all emphasis on micro level interactions ignoring the macro level  Families are created in our everyday interactions or failure to interact, rituals and symbols  Critique: Canadian families are impacted by larger social structures (ie. Government policies) but is ignored o Feminist Theories (change theory; macro and micro)  Gender-based inequalities  Women’s social reality  Critique: Concept of patriarchy is problematic because not all men dominate over women and not all women are victims  Liberal Feminism  Radical Feminism  Inclusive Feminism  Other theoretical Perspectives: o Biological (Essentialist) Perspective o Postmodernism:  Critique of grand theories  No singular theory  Knowledge is fluid, contested  Family is contested, ambivalent, fluid Families and Foraging Society  Chapter 4, Fox “Women in an Egalitarian Society: The Montagnais-Naskapi of Canada” by Eleanor Leacock o Studied Montagnais-Naskapi of Labrador  Chapter 3, Becker  Non-privatized living arrangements  Norm of cooperation and sharing  No private property  Fluid gender roles  No class system no one owns the means of production  Sharing childbearing duties with the community  Strong traditions  Democratic decision-making  Monogamy is not the norm  Variation with marriage o Residence patterns o Coerced into marriage o Arranged marriage o Easy divorce o Married couple doesn’t have a private household o Not emotionally or economically dependent on their spouses  Children have a sense that all adults are seen as parents  Montagnais-Naskapi (Foraging) o Lack of hierarchy and authority relations o Gender equality o Fluid gender roles o Non-privatized living arrangements o Characterized by sexual openness  Montagnais-Naskapi (Fur Trade) o Division between private and public sphere o Division of labour by sex o Economic power for men o Economic dependence for women o Violence against women o Living as nuclear families  Children can no longer turn to the whole group o Private property Families and Agricultural Society  Cohen, Fox Chapter 6 “Patriarchal Relations of Production in Nineteenth Century Ontario” o Patriarchal property, inheritance and custody laws o “Patriarchal productive relations” (men ultimately owned women’s labour and the product of their labour)  Tilly and Scott, Fox Chapter 5 “The Family Economy in Modern England and France” o Family economies and family wage economies  Chapter 4, Becker  Household composition determined by labour requirements  Impermanence and discontinuity  Myths about: extended, large families, and strong family ties/obligation not supported  Debates about how children were viewed  Increasing gender division of labour  Women’s labour valued  Male legal authority  Social inequality  Layers of dependency  Interdependent households  Marriage is an economic arrangement Canadian Families in the Past  Chapter 3 Baker, consequences of colonization for aboriginals, family patterns among European settlers, experience of immigrants, changing patterns of parenting and childhood, changes in family law  Chapter 5, Becker Families and Industrialization  Chapter 7, 8, and 9 of Fox  Chapter 6, Becker  Families reliant on wages, but capitalism also reliant on families  Separate spheres, particularly for more affluent classes  Chapter 7, Hareven “Dynamics of Kin in and Industrial Community” o (1880-1930) kin networks among French Canadians who migrated to Manchester New Hampshire o Families who needed support didn’t have the state to rely on so they relied on their kin network o Kin provides resources such as labour and childcare and economic resources o Offer help because they know they may need help in the future  Exchange theory (calculations based on cost and benefit)  Many individuals, mostly women, didn’t follow this and subordinated their own happiness and interests for their familie
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