SOC244H5 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Marxist Feminism, Nuclear Family, Pater Familias

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Published on 14 Nov 2013
School
UTM
Department
Sociology
Course
SOC244H5
Professor
Lecture 1: Introduction to the Study of Family Theoretical Approaches
DEFINING THE FAMILY
Murdock
- “the family is a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation, and reproduction”
- Doesn’t fully represent contemporary families – divorced/separated families, gay couples, stepparents, etc.
Census Family
- Now-married couple (w/ or w/o children), a couple living common-law (w/ or w/o children), or a lone parent of any marital status (w/ at
least 1 child) living in the same dwelling. A couple living common-law may be of opposite or same sex. Children in a census family include
grandchildren living w/ grandparents but w/ no parents present.
Economic Family
- People who share a dwelling, who are related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption.
Household Family
- People who share a dwelling, whether or not they are related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption.
Economic, Political, and Social Impacts on the Family
Industrial Revolution
- Ferdinand Tonnies: Gemeinschaft (intimate community, shared sense of connection) and Gesellschaft (impersonal and distant
community)
- Durkheim (Division of Labour): Mechanical (cohesion, integration, kinship ties, homogeneity of individuals, found in traditional small-scale
societies) and Organic (industrial society, more division of labour and interdependence)
Political Revolution
- American and French
Imperialism
FUNCTIONALISM
- Stress integration, shared values, and social stability
- Change in one institution leads to change in another
Bronislaw Malinowski (The Family among Australian Aborigines)
- Studied Aboriginals; they had rules which controlled who could mate with whom. He challenged sexual promiscuity, and argued that
children WERE able to identify their fathers even if women were sexually involved w/ other members.
Three Features of Families
1) Families had to have clear boundaries (who belongs, who doesn’t)
2) Families had to have a place where they could be together and share the task of childbearing
3) Family members tend to feel affection for one another (close emotional ties)
George Murdock (Social Structure)
- Conducted study of 250 mainly preliterate societies in the 1940s
- Nuclear family was based on marriage as a socially approved, long-term, sexual and economic union b/t a man and a woman.
- 3 types of families: nuclear, polygamous, and extended
- “one fact stands out beyond all others that everywhere the husband, wife, and immature children constitute a unit apart from the
remainder of the community”
Five Functions of the Nuclear Family
- (1) sexual regulation (2) economic cooperation (3) reproduction (4) socialization (5) emotional support
Talcott Parsons (The American Family)
- “nuclear family, consisting of parents and their still dependent children, ordinarily occupying a separate dwelling not shared w/ members
of the family of orientation of either spouse, and that this household is in the typical case economically independent, subsisting in the
first instance from the occupational earnings of the husband-father”
- Basic division of labour; family was situated in capitalism (there’s a fit b/t nuclear family + industrial capitalism)
Two Primary Functions of the Family
1) Primary socialization of children so that they can be members of society
2) Maintenance and stabilization of adult personalities
Instrumental vs. Emotional/Expressive Leader
- Instrumental: husband-father, who is the primary source of income and support
- E/E: wife-mother, who is responsible for childcare, socialization of children, and maintenance/management of household
SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM
- Symbols and individual interpretation of symbols lie at the basis of social life
- We coordinate our actions and communication through the use of symbols
- Weakness: over-focused on individual motives w/o connecting it to larger structural changes
Key Assumptions
1) humans live in a symbolic environment as well as a physical environment, and they acquire complex set of symbols in their mind
2) symbols are important in understanding human behaviour
3) humans are reflexive
4) the human is the actor as well as a reactor
Max Weber
- Focus was on social action, intentional interpretive individual action looking at individuals rather than collective b/c only individuals can
have motives
George Mead
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- People are not passive recipients; they are active agents who negotiate meaning through their interaction w/ others (focused on people’s
everyday experiences
Lecture 2: Theoretical Perspectives (Cont’d) and The Ancient Family System
REVIEW THE ENLIGHTENMENT/AGE OF REASON
- The Enlightenment: a period of reason, knowledge, science, and freedom. A period focused on human happiness and human self-
actualization.
MARXIST CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE ON THE FAMILY
- Witnessed industrial revolution, roots of human misery and suffering lay in the conflict b/t two classes
- The ________ is seen as the original site for an inequitable division of labour
- Under capitalism, rather than consuming what they produced, mechanization and industrial production made it easier for families to
purchase their needs for survival in the market place
Engels
- Production & reproduction of immediate essentials of life: (1) production of the means of existence and of the tools necessary for that
production (2) production of human beings themselves, the propagation of the species
- The nuclear, patriarchal family was the first form of the family based not on natural but on economic conditions, namely on the victory of
private property over original naturally developed, common ownership
- The role of property in the creation of the modern family and as such modern civilization. Two partners, even when their marriage is not
arranged, will always have the preservation of inheritance in mind and as such will never be entirely free to choose their partner. A
relationship based on property rights and forced monogamy will only lead to the proliferation of immorality and prostitution.The only
class, according to Engels, which is free from these restraints of property, and as a result from the danger of moral decay, is
the proletariat, as they lack the monetary means that are the basis of (as well as threat to) the bourgeois marriage. Monogamy is
therefore guaranteed by the fact that theirs is a voluntary sex-love relationship.
THE FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE
- Varied, ambivalent, contradictory (at times)
- Mary Wollstonecraft: advocated for equality rights in areas such as education, within marriage, and in political arena (voting)
- The Enfranchisement of Women: argued for the admission of women “in law and in fact” to equal, political, civil, and social rights. The
effects of dividing society into 2 castes, ruling and ruled, were said to be no less than perversion and demoralization to both classes.
There ought to be perfect equality b/t the sexes, permitting no power for privilege to one side or disability to the other.
- The Feminine Mystique: continual demands on her time trap the suburban housewife. But the chains that bind her are chains in her own
mind and spirit. They are the chains made up of mistaken ideas and misinterpreted facts, of incomplete truths and unreal choices. They
are not easily seen and not easily shaken off…we can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: ‘I want something more than
my husband and my children and my home’”
1) Marxist Feminism
- The origins of the nuclear family were situated with _________.
- Sexual division of labour is now deeply entrenched in the relations of production of capitalism
- Exploitative position in the nuclear family value of domestic work for women
- Gender oppression is class oppression and the relationship between man and woman in society is similar to the relations b/t proletariat
and bourgeoise. Women's subordination is b/c it serves the interests of capital and the ruling class.
The Housewife and her Labour Under Capitalism (Wally Seccombe)
- Domestic labour fulfills 2 needs: (1) (2)
2) Socialist Feminism
1) Capitalism as significant factor, but not only factor
2) ______________________ between men and women
3)
- Socialist feminism asserts that women are unable to be free due to their financial dependence on males in society. Women are subjects
to the male rulers in capitalism due to an uneven balance in wealth. They see economic dependence as the driving force of women’s
subjugation to men
3) Radical Feminism
- Brought attention to: sexuality, control, violence, porn (patriarchy)
- Pregnancy and motherhood were at the heart of women’s oppression
ANCIENT FAMILY SYSTEMS
Historical Review of the Ancient Family Structure
- 12, 000-10, 000 years ago: shift from hunter gather to sedentary agricultural lifestyle
- 3000 BC: primarily agricultural civilizations existing main source of income is the land, increasing specialization and stratification,
accumulation of property, wealthy families developing
- 1000 BC: very advanced Agrarian societies
Main Features of the Greek Family
- Patriarchal, patrilineal, patirlocal, extended
- Oikos: family or household or estate
- Family included: immediate family, movable and immovable property, slaves, animals, the house, land, all that was produced
Marriage Systems
- Homeric; preliminary meeting to discuss gifts and contract
- Athenian: great stress on endogamy, marriages made compulsory, arranged by parents
- Spartan: punished for not marrying, dowry given
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- Father sole cyrios, lord over his wife, children, concubines, and slaves
- Athenian wife had 2 functions: be a loyal housekeeper and produce legitimate children
- Spartan women enjoyed higher status
- Homosexuality prevalent in both Athens and Sparta
Main Features of the Roman Family
- Pater familias (father), mater familias (his wife), filii familias (sons), filiae familias (unmarried daughters), and his slaves
- Patriarchal, patrilineal, patrilocal
Marriages
- Unusually arranged, marriage contract, polygamy was unlawful
- Before the Punic Wars - Manus: legal power of husband // patria potestas: power over children
- After the Punic Wars women’s status became higher, manus and potestas collapsed, power of the patriarch restricted, when Romans
converted to Christianity there as a switch to strong patriarchy
Early Christians
1) Bring back rigid marriage practices of the Ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans
2) Highest form of morality: virginity
3) 7th degree cousins were prohibited from marrying
4) By 12th century marriage made a sacrament of the Church
5) Celibacy and monasticism
!KUNG FAMILY
- Kalahari Desert in Southern Angola, Bostwana and SW Africa
- Compares the traditional hunting and gathering arrangement w/ settled way of life
Traditional Bush Living People
- Women have a great deal of autonomy and influence egalitarian society, lack of rigid sex role
- Women have control over the food they bring in
- Cultural sanction against violence
Settled Villages
- Women’s work seen as “unworthy”
- Property more valued
- Women and children more restricted in activities and space; men have greater mobility
- Privacy increased
Lecture 3 (Part 1): Pre-Industrial Family Systems in Europe and Canada
EARLY CHRISTIANITY
- Religion started w/ Judaism
- Rigid marriage practices such as patriarchal family; highest form of morality was virginity (sex is a sin)
- Church prohibited marriage b/t 7th degree cousins (but in the villages, it was hard to meet non-relatives)
- 1563 Council of Trent: marriage became one of the sacraments of the Christian Church - must be celebrated in the presence of a priest &
2-3 witnesses, no divorce unless annulment for the wealthy)
Reformation
- Protestant church split from Catholic church (England broke away from the authority of Roome and the Pope)
- Endorsed civil marriages performed by gov’t official, civil contracts could end (focus on civil morality & individual responsibility)
EARLY FEUDAL EUROPE
- Nature of production shaped family relations
- Feudalism: kings, nobles, serfs, freeman, artisans and craftsmen
- Divides the countryside into states accumulated through military conquest, rigid and stratified (wealthy vs. peasantry)
- Farmers-indentured labourers = illiterate and uneducated
- Villages = closely knit w/ local culture // Towns = salaried labourers, free artisans, ruling elite, nobles
Importance of the Family Unit
- Family/household = unit of production + consumption
- Families worked collectively, children worked from age 7 much more social sanction against abuses such as father neglecting family
- Marriages were economic arrangements dowry and dower lands were given
PRE-INDUSTRIAL ENGLAND AND FRANCE
- Greater specialization in the urban area, separation of production + consumptions, wage work & importance of the market
- “household labour needs, subsistence requirements, and family relationships constituted the ‘family economy’ (household & economy
were one)
Women’s Oppression Today: The Marxist/Feminist Encounter (Michele Barrette)
- Feudal households more egalitarian, familial ideology was absent or less oppressive
- Contribution of all members highly valued role of women and children were not marginal to the economy or household (publicly visible,
publicly valued)
- Men, women, children, the elderly could contribute more evenly than in more capitalists systems of production
PRE-INDUSTRIAL QUEBEC AND ONTARIO
- Family wage and the dependence by women on their husbands for survival
- Dependence on working class families on youth wages
- Gender roles for women were flexible
- Household moves to merely a unit of consumption
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Document Summary

Lecture 1: introduction to the study of family theoretical approaches. The family is a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation, and reproduction . Doesn"t fully represent contemporary families divorced/separated families, gay couples, stepparents, etc. Now-married couple (w/ or w/o children), a couple living common-law (w/ or w/o children), or a lone parent of any marital status (w/ at least 1 child) living in the same dwelling. A couple living common-law may be of opposite or same sex. Children in a census family include grandchildren living w/ grandparents but w/ no parents present. People who share a dwelling, who are related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption. People who share a dwelling, whether or not they are related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption. Economic, political, and social impacts on the family. Ferdinand tonnies: gemeinschaft (intimate community, shared sense of connection) and gesellschaft (impersonal and distant community)

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