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Family Msl nts

Course Code
Mc Kinon

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The Nuclear Family
Comprises of a cohabiting man and woman who are in a socially approved sexual relationship and have at least
one child together
Traditional Nuclear Family
Is more narrow than above
A nuclear family in which the wife works in the house without pay and the man works out side for paid wages
The Nuclear family is no longer the most widespread type of family in Canada.
- It was in the 1940s and 1950s
- Between 1950 and 1998 the amount of woman over 16 working increased from 25 to 58%
- By 1990 80% of mothers with school aged children were in the labour force
Walk the Line (2005)
Film about the life of Johnny Cash, who was blamed by his father for his brother[s death, therefore he grew up in a
dysfunctional family, but falls in love with June Carter, whose family was loving and kind to him.
Functionalist Theory
Feel like the decline of the nuclear family is disastrous, and that it leads to increased crime, drug use, and poverty and
welfare dependency rates amongst Canadians
Not so common because it is expensive to support many wives and children
The Extended Family
George Murdock
Conducted famous study in the 1940s
Concluded that the nuclear family is a distinct and strong functional group
The nuclear family is based on marriage
He defined marriage as a socially approved, long-term, sexual and economic reunion between a man and a
woman, involving rights and obligations between family members (spouses and children)
Functionalists believe that there are five main functions provided by nuclear families and marriages
1. Sexual Regulation
Murdock says marriage makes social order possible by legitimating the intense human need for sexual activity
However by year 2010 close to 85% of Canadians will approve of non marital sex. (Quebec being the most
2. Economic Cooperation
Woman are gatherers men are hunters, Men work outside the home, women work inside, men are stronger
than woman etc.
This division of labour allows for maximum production
3. Reproduction
Murdock says children are an investment in the future

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They do chores, take care of elderly parents, and have an economic value
4. Socialization
The basic and irreducible function of the family
5. Emotional Support
Nuclear family provides love affection and support to its members
Murdock says the mother is mainly responsible for this
Therefore the mother has a more expressive role while the father has a more instrumental one
The two types of families that were in the mind of functionalists theorists...
Groups of nomads who travel in bands
Yes, a gender division does exist, with females tending to children and gathering while men hunt
functionalist accounts.
Gender division is much less strict and societies are more egalitarian than Murdock thought
Men sometimes gather food and tend to babies
Gender division is not related to power and authority
men and woman have pretty much the same privileges in these societies
woman produce up to 80% of the food
The band is the basic functional unit, not necessarily the nuclear family
The group decides as a consensus when men should be sent out to hunt
food is shared among bands, not just nuclear families
Socialization of children is the responsibility of all adults not just families
Children are not always economic assets in foraging societies.
Ratio of children to productive adults is kept low
Inuit even allow babies born in hard times to die.
THE CE/ED/>>^^/Ed,íõñì[
Functionalists noted that during this time the economic functions were less important and the socializing and emotional
functions of the family were more important.
Unlike in the time of the farm, both parents do not have to work. The man works outside the home while the woman
works on the children within the home.
After WW2
Marriage and Baby boom, increase in family income
Woman work on the home, attention on child rearing and house work
However, Andrew J. Cherlin notes the decline of the nuclear family amidst all this
People married hastily, then divorce rates sky rocket as these marriages broke up
ÇZíõòì[}]P]vovZv-established after the post war boom(fewer marriages less income)
Functionalists were too hasty in making their conclusions, they based their observations too closely on the eras which
they knew best, and failed to recognize the decline of the nuclear family
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