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Comprehensive Notes for Lecture 1

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What is Family? Outline (what do we mean when we say family, some approaches to defining family, variations in families, how do sociologists think about families) • Start a family, settle down and have children • My family comes from…, ancestors and past generations, extended family • Family-friendly, moral meaning, safe for all ages • Friends are like family to me, genially care about you and your wellbeing, family as a type of relationship or connection, interpersonal relationship, mutual concern • Family reunification, direct family parents children, very restrictive, blood connection or genetic ties People use family in very different ways, gets used in all different types of contexts Some approaches to defining family 1) “SNAF” (ideological family) Standard North American Family - Male breadwinner (goes out to earn money) married to family homemaker/caregiver with joint children - A social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation, and reproduction, including adults of both sexes at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexually relationship and one or more children, own or adopted. (George Murdoch). Basically the man works, woman stays at home, has to be married and have children. - Powerful ideological concept, BUT it no longer reflects social reality - (Difference between SNAF and nuclear family, nuclear is bigenerational family does not have grandparents, does not have cousin’s brother in law and sister in law, it is a small portion of a network. Nuclear family is SNAF, but SNAF is not a nuclear family) 2) Census (official family) - Married couple and children, if any. A couple living in common law and the children if any. Living in the same dwelling. Couple may be opposite or same sex or lone parent of any marital status with at least one child. Children may be children by birth, marriage, or adoption, as long as you live in the same dwelling. (Government of Canada) - Official definition - Reflects changes in social life - Emphasised coresidence, generation and marital relations - People that are not part of this, guardian of a younger sibling, single person households, unrelated persons households (siblings living together, roommates), institutional arrangements (prison, long-term institutions) 3) Process (sociological family) - Families are when things happen • Identification (who am I, Maggie’s daughter, Andrzej’s sister, place expectations on us) • Intimacy (emotional supports, closeness and sharing of events and feelings, degrees of intimacy • Mutual dependency (who supports who, who is expected to provide care or assistance to whom) • Resource transfer (who gives to who, one person who earns income, who benefits from that income, who shares resources, who transfers economic resources to me, ex. Post-secondary where parents pay for a little of it but not in ev
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