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Final Exam Essay Prep

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Work and Family
Since 1960s, employment rate has slightly declined for men whereas dramatically increased for married women, as such,
2/3 of families of Canada consist of dual-earner couples in present society. As such, balancing work and family has
become an important issue because since most individuals do not have enough time to perform both roles. In relation to
this issue, Hochschild has argued that the roles of home and work are reversed as workplace has become more rewarding
and interesting, and emotionally supportive whereas home has become a stressful place where there is too much to do
within a little time. The five work-family balance models are reversed model (mostly for professional and managerial jobs
with desirable workplace environment), haven model (low paid blue-collar jobs with little community supports),
traditional model (a typical gendered sphere for men as breadwinner and women as housewives), no-job and weak-
family” model in which families are unemployed or laid off, and work/family balance model which takes advantages of
family-friendly policies and make efforts to balance two domains.
Couples and Network
Although family and marriage is weakening in general, marital bonds are still the most central and important bonds among
all social ties. When a couple is married, the two networks from each spouse, including relatives and friends are embedded
in marital bond, and the size of network increases. The members of these social networks actively engage in exchanges
such as financial and psychological support to each other. When a couple undergoes structural change as a family, such as
divorce and remarriage, the network also changes. In terms of divorce, matricentral networks are usually reinforced when
daughters return to family of origin for support. In the case where divorced mothers are strongly tied to children by raising
them alone as single mothers, the tie between children and father gets weaker. Nonetheless, the relationship between ex-in-
laws can still be remained if that relationship was based on personal liking, rather than a sense of relatedness or
responsibility. In regard to remarriage, although the number of size itself can become greater, the connectedness and
bonds are usually low because step-family relationships are perceived as less supportive and less intimate, with more
tensions and conflicts.
Family and Communities
In the old days, the tie between families and local communities was very strong because not only did individuals live close
to their families and relatives (biological solidarity) but their lives were based on shared norms and values of their
community members (social solidarity). This involuntary” strong connectedness within local communities, however,
exists less in modern day. First, under globalization, the development of transformation and technology has allowed people
to maintain family relationships and friendships from long-distance, so that people no longer have to live in their
traditional communities but they can always come & go or even see each other through the internet. For instance, a family
of business men may frequently move between various cities in the world, so they have physically and emotionally less
connection with their original local community. Also, young couples, especially without children, in modern days are less
interested in getting deeply involved in local community activities partly because of their own busy work as well as the
general trend of individualistic life styles.
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