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Sociology Midterm 2 Textbook Notes

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Department
Sociology
Course
Sociology 1020
Professor
Kim Luton
Semester
Spring

Description
Sociology Midterm 2 Gender Relations (Chapter 7) • Sex: The biological trait characterized by the XX chromosomes and estrogen for a female, and the XY chromosome and testosterone for a male • Gender: A social construct based, in part, on definitions of masculinity and femininity and consisting largely of the norms and expectations that encourage people to behave in a “sex-appropriate” manner o Learning masculine and feminine gender roles occurs early in the socialization process and the specific content of that learning varies across cultures and over time o Set of social attitudes can vary from culture to culture • Gender Identity: The perception, developed around age 3, of oneself as either male or female. o Not to be confused with sexual orientation and is not necessarily consistent with a person’s sex o Your gender identity is established within 18 months and 3 years (through interaction) • Gendered Order: A macro-level concept and refers not to individuals but to social structure. It includes gendered norms, gendered roles, and a gendered ideology. o All together makes social lie gendered, directing how males and females should act o Its biggest influence is to create a gendered division of labour in which males and females—in both the unpaid and paid labour arenas—tend to act “gender appropriately” Structural Functionalism • Social practices, such as gendered division of labour, persist because they benefit society in some way o Gender then, is just another of the social conventions, such as family and law, that maintain order and social stability • Breadwinners have access to the public realm of paid labour and perform the instrumental tasks needed for survival. In a competitive workplace, they must be strong, even aggressive, and smart. Rationality is preferred over emotionality • With this traditional functional argument, women are relegated to the private realm of the home, providing unpaid domestic labour and being responsible for expressive tasks, such as nurturing and providing emotional support • In this public/private division of labour, partners are seen as complementing each other, making social order possible Symbolic Interactionism • Unlike functionalists, they do not see the gendered division of labour as a natural outcome of the need to reproduce, and are especially critical of any extensions of this position that generalize to a female dependency and a male dominance • Definitions of masculinity and femininity , gender roles, and gender norms are all negotiable • Brown and Gilligan (1992) argued that children learn gendered behaviour through a variety of processes, such as imitating others and receiving awards or punishments for behaviour defined as gender appropriate or inappropriate o They saw gender more as a product of social and cultural, rather than biological, influences o Parents and siblings, and then peers, schools, religions, the mass media, and the workplace, all play roles in continuing the gendered order • Most behaviour is affected by what is defined as gender-appropriate: the clothes worn, the amount of food eaten, issues of safety, choice of occupation, and parental responsibilities • Gender is a continuum from very masculine, through androgyny (blending both masculine and feminine), to very feminine Marxist Conflict Theory • Marxists put primary emphasis on economic forces; they view economy as the driving force in society o With this economic focus, it is not surprising that gender inequality was not an issue for Marx. To him, women were mothers and housewives o His co-author Engels did pay more attention to women, likening their position in the family to that of the oppressed working class in the larger society  Neither men nor women possessed the means of production and each was in fact like property: workers of the capitalists, wives of their husbands • Some modern socialists link subordination of women to the Industrial Revolution and thus capitalism o Factories took workers away from their homes, resulting in a need for someone to stay at home and care for children, resulting in a gender inequality greater than had existed in the farm economy that preceded industrialism Feminist Perspectives • Feminists generally concur that the main force behind women’s oppression is patriarchy, a system in which the traits associated with men are values more than those associated with women. This gives men unearned privilege relative to women • Liberal feminism argues that gender inequality can be remedied by giving women greater opportunities. Legislation for pay equity and employment, equity policies, free universal daycare, and ending the sexism in high schools and universities that restricts women’s choice or occupation, are some of the focuses o The basic assumption of liberal feminism is an essential equality between males and females o Liberal feminists believe gender inequalities are bigger than the equalities of race, age, religion, and social class • Socialist feminism agrees that patriarchy must be eradicated, but methodologically speaking, seeks a longer causal chain. Capitalism is the real issue—just as it leads to factories for husbands, it is a cause of patriarchy and the relegation of wives to isolated homes and undervalued domestic labour o From a male perspective, men must subordinate themselves to their employers, and one way to maintain their dignity is to control others, starting with their wives and children • Radical feminism has one goal, the abolition of male supremacy, and two connected focuses: biological reproduction and paid labour o Some radical feminists argue for alternative reproduction strategies, such as in vitro fertilization, to permanently eliminate men’s dominance of women’s bodies. Control over one’s body is thus the key to ending women’s oppression Three Areas of Difference Body Image • Weight is the largest factor—more important than all others combined—in determining satisfaction with one’s appearance • Many females in North America are victims of what Hesse-Bieber called the cult of thinness, the never-ending fight to be unnaturally slim o Anorexia, a voluntary starvation o Bulimia, a pattern of binging and purging • Boys, whom some estimate at 10 percent of those with eating disorders, more often fail to report it, not wanting to admit to having what is perceived as a “girl’s disease” o Boys suffer from eating disorders less frequently and are usually trying to gain weight Gendered Wage Gap • Over the past 50 years, there has been an increase of women in the paid workforce • Women now receive 58% and men receive 42% of all university degrees • The gender gap is greater in math, engineering, and physical sciences • Both the greater tendency for women to avoid certain types of paid work and to feel a greater responsibility for the unpaid work of the home are part of what was earlier called a gendered division of labour o The unpaid work includes wife work: meeting the sexual, physical, and emotional needs of her husband; mother work: fulfilling the emotional and physical need of her children; and housework: care of the home, including cooking, laundry, and cleaning • The existence of children in a family widens the gendered division • Women tend to take the “second” job in the family, meaning it must be flexible enough to accommodate the unexpected. Women who work still tend to do most of the daily household chores and most of the childcare • Women who postpone childbearing until their careers are established earn 6% more than those who have children earlier • Women earn 73 cents for every dollar men earn o This figure is somewhat misleading and the inclusion of addition variables in the analysis reduces the gap. For example, for single women the figure is 93 cents, as opposed to 69 cents for married women • Starting salary is generally a good predictor of later salary • Although other factors are at work, bias is still important. Canadian women’s average hourly wage rate is 82 to 89.5 percent that of men after controlling for a variety of productivity related characteristics o Gender differences in actual work experience account for 12% of the gap; 5% accounts for differences in major field of study; 6% for differences in job responsibilities; 77% of the gap is explained by other factors, including discrimination and some of the factors like unequal household division of labour Experiencing Violence • In the workplace, women are much more likely to experience problems of sexism, from sexist jokes to threats that a refusal of sexual favours will jeopardize promotions and even continuation of employment o Sexism is the appropriate label only if men’s experiences are different or when the average observer would feel that the experience is really not innocent. o Feminists have ked relatively successful campaigns to remove pornography from the workplace, but many want to go further and outlaw pornography everywhere • Homicides are committed against men twice as much as women and visible minorities are also overrepresented • Sexual assault data suffer from under-reporting, but victimization data show a 9:1 female to male victim ratio, with males less likely than females to call the police Convergence • The gender gap is closing with respect to things such as pay, job tenure, and household responsibilities. This is called convergence. • In some areas, removing gender imbalances is not a high priority—most ballet dancers are female and most race-car drivers are male • There are different ways to close the gender gap o The most often implied model is that women catch up to men o Also, men could decrease while women increase. For example, the number of women drivers killed in fatal car accidents has gone up because more women are driving now, thus exposing them to accidents o Closing the gap can also occur with men and women decreasing, but men decreasing at a quicker rate o If male rates go down and women stay constant, this will also close the gap Families (Chapter 10) Definitions of Marriage and Family • Marriage: A commitment and an ongoing exchange • Expressive exchanges: The emotional dimension of marriage, including love, sexual gratification, companionship, and empathy • Instrumental exchanges: The task-orientated dimension, including earning a living, spending money, and maintaining a household • Family: Can be defined as two or more people who are related by blood, adoption, or some other form of extended commitment, and who reside together o There are two crucial aspects to this definition: the persons must be related in some way and they must customarily maintain common residence o If individuals are related but do not live together, they are kin Variability in Family Patterns • There are three possible compositions of the marriage group: monogamy¸ polygamy, and group marriage o Monogamy: Marriage involving two partners o Polygamy: Marriage involving more than two partners (polygyny—one man married to two or more women; polyandry—one woman married to two or more men) o Group marriage: Marriage involving multiple partners (other than the types of polygamy) • The regulation of sexual behaviour outside of marriage also varies o In a sample of 158 societies, 41% permit premarital intercourse, 27% conditionally approved, 4% mildly disapproved, and it was forbidden by 28% • The elements of uniformity in this diversity: o Although polygamy is accepted in many societies, most marriages are monogamous o Although there are different orientations toward premarital and extramarital sex, reproduction and sex are generally controlled for the benefit of families o Although some societies emphasize consanguinity and other a nuclear family, both are always in existence Uniformity and Family Patterns • Most societies place a high premium on marriage, at least for reproduction and socialization • Cultural norms support the premium on marriage by expecting the parents of a newborn to be in a state of union, discouraging activities that impinge on marriage (ex. Adultery, homosexuality), and taking a dim view taken of martial dissolution • The incest taboo, prohibiting sex and marriage for close biological relatives, is another almost uniform feature across societies • The taboo reinforces the family in two ways: o Restricting legitimate sexual activity to spouses prevents sexual rivalry from breaking up the family o The requirement to marry outside of the nuclear family enlarges the kinship network through alliances with other families • The inheritance that links generations produces social relationships that will continue into the future • Intergenerational transfers in families perpetuate inequality o Children of wealthy parents can consolidate their positions while those of the poor do not have this advantage Family Change • Over the last 150 years, the broad changes that have occurred in families can be described in terms of two transitions: o The first transition (1870 to 1950) brought about smaller families and involved a change in the economic costs and benefits of children, along with a new cultural environment that made it more appropriate to control family size. This change in family dynamics changed emphasis on child quantity to child quality o The second transition in Western countries (1960 to the present) has three sub-stages  The first, from 1960 to 1970, involved the end of the baby boom, the end of the trend of marrying young, and the beginning of the rise of divorces  The second, from 1970 to 1985, involved the growth of common-law unions and eventually of children in cohabiting unions  The third stage, since 1985, brought a levelling of divorce rates, an increase in post-marital cohabitation, a plateau in fertility, and high proportions of births after the age of 30 Theoretical Perspectives on Family Change • The macro or societal perspective considers the relationship of the family to other parts of society and tends to see a reduction in the instrumental functions of families o From this perspective, kin and family groups had a larger number of functions in pre-industrial societies, where besides being the chief units of reproduction and socialization of the young, families were also the units of economic production, and sometimes of political action and religious observance o Industrialization and modernization brought structural differentiation, and increasingly, separate structures in society came to serve specific functions. The family lost many of its roles in economic production, education, social security, and care of the aged to non-family institutions, such as schools, factories, medical and public health organizations, etc. o Long-term changes in the family are related to societal changes, especially changes in economic structures • The micro or cultural perspective looks within families and observes in particular the greater important of the expressive dimension o Other explanations of family change have looked within families, proposing that expressive activities have become increasingly important. o Mechanical solidarity: A sense of belonging and immediate identity within the surrounding community o Organic solidarity: A division of labour whereby individuals are dependent on each other’s specialized abilities Anticipating Marriage and Mate Selection • Important changes have occurred in the typical martial life cycle from pre-modern to modern times. The years of childbearing have been reduced, and a new and often happy stage of the empty nest has emerged, between moving out the last child and the death of one of the spouses • In terms of practice and abilities, dating provides various relevant experiences. However, unmarried individuals may have difficulty learning what is expected of marriage partners, insofar as other people’s marriages are generally private • Dating, like marriage, can be seen as involving exchanges • Premarital sex standards: o Abstinence Standard: Forbids premarital sex o Double Standard: Grants men premarital sexual license but expects premarital virginity of women o Love Standard: Regards sex as a physical expression of love and sees premarital sex as acceptable when love or strong affection is present (women’s focus) o Fun Standard: Views sex as primarily a giving and receiving of sexual pleasure (men’s focus) • After having declined decade by decade, the average age at home leaving started to rise in the late 1970s, producing what is called a cluttered nest o Economic factors play a large role for this, more so in men than women • There are also cultural factors operation o Children are less likely to be living at home when the parents are more religious, remarried, or from certain ethnic groups • To some extent, less formal relationships are a substitute for marriage, but in other respects, cohabitation is not the same as a formal marriage o Cohabitating people were more similar to single people • Kiernan (2001) proposes that cohabitation undergoes various stages in societies o First, cohabitation is a prelude to marriage, and then it is seen as probationary period where the strength of the relationship may be tested prior to committing to marriage o In this second stage, cohabitation is a form of conjugal life, largely without children o In the third stage, cohabitation is socially acceptable and becoming a parent is no longer restricted to marriage o In the fourth stage, cohabitation is a substitute or alternative to marriage, including being a lasting arrangement in which to raise children • Homogamy: The idea that people marry others like themselves (ex. Religion, education and social class) • Heterogamy: Marriage between persons who are dissimilar in some important regard such as religion, ethnic background, social class, personality, or age • Mating gradient: The lesser power of a woman in a typical marriage, partly due to her being younger than her husband • Goldscheider and Waite (1991) found that employment today is a prerequisite for marriage, especially for men but also for women Marital and Family Interactions • A division of labour between paid and unpaid work may be an efficient strategy, it is also a high-risk strategy when marriage become unstable o Complementary-roles model: Where the husband spends more time at paid work and the wife spends more time at unpaid work (largest category) o Double Burden: Where typically wife is doing same amount of paid work but more unpaid work o Collaborative or role-sharing model: Defined as doing about the same amount of unpaid work • The largest increase in the 1980s and 1990s have been lone-parent families • Just as marriage can be regarded as involving ongoing instrumental and expressive exchanges, children can also be examined in terms of both economic (instrumental) and non-economic (expressive) components o At the economic level, children are very costly because they are largely dependent on their parents and do not contribute to family income o The non-economic costs and values of children are more difficult to determine  Children are costly in the sense that parents have less time and energy for themselves  Children are sometimes psychological and emotional burdens • Many children live through a diversity of family trajectories: cohabitation, births outside of marriage, increased divorce, and family reconstruction either through cohabitation or marriage. All of these trends represent reduced family stability for children Marital Dissolution • The most observable ways in which families have changed are in terms of entry into unions and exit from marriages, both of which imply greater flexibility in relationships • Separation and divorce have increased since the 1960s • The risk of divorce in the US is greater when one’s parents have separated or when parents have higher education o However, higher education for husbands reduces this risk, as does higher husband’s earnings • Divorce propensities are particularly high for those who married at a young age and who had premarital births • For the wife, it is much easier to leave an unhappy marriage if she is employed than if she is in a complementary-roles marriage • Until 1968, adultery was the only grounds for divorce in Canada. The 1968 Divorce Act extended the grounds o Fault-related grounds include adultery and other sexual behaviours, prolonged alcohol or drug addiction, and physical and mental cruelty Anticipating Future Change and Continuity • Families may not play the same roles, or as many roles as the past, but they remain crucial to the lives of most people • The largest change relates to the liberation of gender roles o Husbands, on average, continue to earn more of the family income, but there has been a considerable move to more equality in terms of labour-force participation, the propensity to work full time, and increasing numbers of couples in which the wife earns more than the husband Media (Chapter 12) Perspectives on Media Transformation • Some theorists believe that media is so important today that they have created a new sort of society, often called the information society or the network society • Sociologist Daniel Bell originated this idea and called society postindustrial, to differentiate from the previous pre-industrial or agricultural societies • The main force driving this shift was the advance in scientific knowledge, systematically organized to create new wealth-producing technologies o Also, the change was associated with the shift from a manufacturing economy to a service economy • Bell’s information society’s basic idea: information technologies—machines that transfer, process, store, and disseminate data—are moving us to a new stage of civilization • Economic, cultural, and political transformations are seen as following behind media and technology; this is known as technological determinism • Possible problems with the information society include technological unemployment, intrusive surveillance, and electronic crime • Political economy of media: Instead of just focusing on technological changes, this approach situates the media in relation to issues of power and wealth o Sociologists who study the political economy of media look at the social institutions that govern the production, distribution, and consumption of information  They are interested in who controls access to the means of communication and how that control is used to solidify or subvert social power • The existence of a public sphere, where opinion and discussion can circulate without government interference, is regarded as a central element in liberal democracy • Technologies of freedom: A phrase suggesting that computers and other digital technologies empower citizens by allowing them to create and circulate information for themselves • A number of political economists of media, some influenced by Marx, challenge the idea that communication systems in liberal democracies are in fact “free” o Means of production—the technologies and raw resources required to make socially useful things—are privately owned and organized to make a profit • Culture industry: A term originally used critically to describe the crass, conservative, and conformist tendencies of commercially organized mass entertainment, now often used approvingly to refer to business-driven media • In many fields of media, there is a high concentration of ownership¸ as the largest companies control a high proportion of the market • The owners of the communications companies are members of a class of people—capitalist owners—who have a very particular interest in seeing society run in a way that allows them to continue reaping profits and wielding power • Hypodermic model: The belief that media shoot powerful messages into weak, passive audiences, thus directly controlling their behaviour • It is difficult to isolate the supposed effects of media from a host of other social influences, such as social class or gender roles, which are always working on people simultaneously • Today, a whole school of media rejects the idea of audiences as “couch potatoes” and depicts them as creative co-participants in the construction of meaning; viewers are active agents of interpretation and criticism • Active audience theory: The idea that audiences play an active role in interpreting or decoding media messages often contrasted with the hypodermic model o This perspective also has limitations. In focusing on the micro choices we make in interpreting media, it is easy to lose sight of the macro structures that shape their overall agenda Gender and the Media • Feminist sociologists have argued that mean have generally commanded access to the most powerful means of communication of the age • Media is full of stereotypical images and messages that support masculine control over women o Television still reinforces gender norms when it includes soft nurturing sounds for girls but louder explosive sounds for boys • Advertising in the early twentieth century was mobilized to win popular acceptance for new innovations (ex. Washing machines and vacuum cleaners), targeting women in campaigns that drew on traditional images of beauty, domesticity, and incompetence • A different approach to the gendering of mass media looked at the control of both technology and time in domestic settings • “Superwoman ads” create a more demanding ideal image of femininity, in which women must be professionally successful, caring mothers, and stunningly good looking—all at the same time • Men are increasingly targeted for fashion, cosmetic, and exercise regimes o Representations of domestic work as also changed; images of fathers taking care of children is occurring more often now Violence in the Media • Those who believe media violence promotes real-life violence base their argument of the intuitively appealing idea that people learn from the media o Repeated exposure to media representations of violent acts provides models for behaviour that may later, under the right circumstances, but acted out for real • A counter-case says vicariously experiencing aggression provides a substitute for actually expressing it; it acts as a sort of “safety valve” o This is surrogate theory • Many researchers have tried to demonstrate the effects of media violence on experimental subjects o Bandura, Ross, and Ross (1963) claimed children’s behaviour is learned through simple observation and mimicry • Exposure to media leads to effects such as desensitization—making the subject less sensitive to real violence —or disinhibition—inclining the subject to shred barriers toward physical expression of aggressive feelings • The problem with all of the experiments is that leaping from findings in a highly controlled laboratory to conclusions about real-life behaviour is risky. There are a host of other influences at work on people shaping attitudes toward violence—family, school, gender, and class • Cultivation effect: The idea that heavy viewing of television leads people to perceive reality in ways inconsistent with the representations they see on television • Mainstreaming is used to describe heavy viewers’ tendency to adopt a similar or homogenous world view • Cultivation effect—television systematically cultivates certain perceptions of the real world One World: Media and Globalization • Information imbalance: Some people have much better capacities to produce, record, process, and distribute information than others • Cultural imperialism: The imposition of one nation’s culture on another, not through direct occupation but by the indirect effects of media influence • Hybridization: The tendency of international communication flows to create cultural mixes or crossovers between previously distinct national and ethnic groups • Schiller (1991) agreed that while American culture imperialism is not dead, it no longer adequately describes the global cultural condition. It has given way to a new form of transnational corporate culture domination o The problem with this new order is not that it imposes on
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