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CHAPTER 1: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives in Family
-Socialization: the process whereby a child learns how to think and behave according
to the ways of the society and the group in which he or she is born.
-Children are not passive recipients in the process; they accept, reject, or transform the
cultural messages that they receive from parents and others.
-Society transmits its culture through process of socialization
-Also through socialization that a society perpetuates its gender, racial and economic
structure as well as the roles that flow from it.
-Institution: is a recognized area of social life that is organized along a system of wide-
ly accepted norms that regulate behaviors.
-The elements of organization and norms contribute to the predictability of life: people
know what to expect, it’s a shared culture.
-When a society is small and there is a great deal of consensus on values, norms, and
behaviors, an institution such as the family can benefit from this stability; life scripts do
not change much over the generations and the level of continuity is high; however such
a high level of stability can also contribute to the lasting subordination of women, for ex,
or the rejection of alternative types of families.
-Cdn society: less consensus about fam norms and behaviors -> many different back-
How Can Families Be Defined
-2002 Stats Can defn: a couple of any sexual combination, with or without children,
married or cohabiting, as well as “a lone parent of any marital status, with at least one
child living in the same dwelling” or a grandparent raising a grandchild.
-Family is a social group, an institution, and an intergenerational group of individuals re-
lated to each other by blood, adoption, or marriage/ cohabitation.
-a parent and his or her children as well as two parents with their children
-when a person or couple has a child whether by birth or adoption, a nuclear family of
procreation is formed.
-what is important is not whether the offspring are biological or adopted, but that
a new generation is added. i.e. grandmother raising grandson is also a nuclear
-however a husband and wife, a cohabiting couple, and a same-sex couple fall
under the category of couples. They constitute a nuclear family only upon the ar-
rival of their first child. These couples are members of their own families of origin
-When parents are divorced, children may experience a binuclear family: half of their nu-
clear family is themselves and the mother and the other half themselves and the father
-when brothers and sisters share a household together without their parents, this is of-
ten referred to as horizontal nuclear family because there is only one generation in-
-Extended families living together under one roof (multi-generational households) have
never been the norm in Canada except for some Native groups.
-English and French arrived with tradition on nuclearity - mainly b/c life expectancy was
too short for such a pattern to emerge on a large scale
-Quebec- 19th and 20th centuries - parents lived with their children when widowed or ill
-three-generational households have increase substantially in Canada from 1986-1996
mainly due to immigration from Asia and the return home of Adult children with their
-Majority of these families live in cities
-Only a minority of individuals actually share a household with members of their extend-
ed family, although some live near relatives. The level of exchange taking place be-
tween nuclear family and extended family varies by coresidence, proximity of neighbor-
hood, and even due to emotional reasons.
-Fictive-kinship bonds: mother/ father’s close friend -> aunt/ uncle
Types of Union and Marriage
-Polygyny- a man with 2 or more wives - prevalent in muslim countries and is more easi-
ly maintained among well-to-do in rural areas
-Polyandry - women married to two or more men - mostly brothers
-1993: canadian cohabitational unions were given same rights and obligations as mar-
riages for income-tax purposes, property held in common, and health benefits, general-
ly after two-three years of co-residence in all provinces except Alberta.
-Live Apart Together (LAT) couples: couples that maintain separate households
who may or may not be married.
-Nearly 2/3 of LAT couples lead this lifestyle because of family duties or work require-
ments; while the other third mentioned the need to retain their independence as a rea-
Relevance of Definitons
-Some critics opt for broader defn of family that includes any person one wishes to rec-
ognize as such or shares a household with- emphasis on intimate relations which is
claimed to be more egalitarian and inclusive than families. However this broad inclusive-
ness as to what constitutes a family is problematic for analytical and social policy pur-
-Macrosociology: studies large-scale phenomena and developments in a society, such
as its social structure and organization. Deals with economic forces, social class, gen-
der, and racial stratification, as well as cultural contexts such as religion and value sys-
-Microsociology: focuses on the interactions between individual’s within smaller con-
texts, such as a family or a group of friends. Examines relationships between family
members as well as the impact of these relationships on human development for both
children and their parents.
-When dealing with families there is a constant interaction between macro and microso-
-analyzes a society’s organization, it’s structure, and the linkages between its various
systems. Within this perspective, the family is an important unit that fulfills key functions
for society such as reproduction and child socialization.