Exploring Sociology.docx

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Elaine Clark- Rapley

Chapter 11: Families Developing a Family  Several definitions of family (sociological perspective)  Widely used: A social group characterized by common residence, economic co-operation, and reproduction o Two adults whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, one or more children  Social arrangement based on marriage o Including recognition of the rights and duties of parenthood, common residence for husband, wife and children, reciprocal economic obligations between husband and wife  Functionalist view on family is more precise o Origin in marriage, husband and wife, children, united group by moral, legal, economic, religious and social right and obligations  Common approaches to family refer to two dominant forms 1. Nuclear Family: includes adult male, adult female, offspring 2. Extended family: multiple generations of adults living with their spouses and children  People from middle east and Asia dependent on extended family for living arrangements  As children grow up they start distinguishing between o Family of orientation: the family in which they were born into and o Family of procreation: The family they create by having children/adoption o These make it possible for you to identify yourself with multiple families  If family was solely based one MOM and DAD + CHILD than less than half (35%) of Canadian families would fit it Changing Face of Families  In 2006 Census Canada had two definitions of family: 1. Census Family o Defines as: married couple, living in common-law, or a lone parent living with at least one child o Includes same-sex couples o Includes children living with grandparents and no parents 2. Economic Family o A group of two or more persons who live in the same dwelling and are related to each other by blood, marriage, common-law or adoption o Includes same-sex couples o In 2006, foster children are accepted as well o Deals with a wider range o Sharing of economic resources  If two census families live together, they’re constituted as one economic family  The legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada (2005) constitutes differences made in the census done in 2001 compared to 2006 o The 2001 did acknowledge same-sex couples, but not as married  Prior to 2001 census, to be considered a child= never married (to be apart of census family) Expanding Boundaries of Family  Margrit Eichler argues we have a monolithic bias of family, we perceive one family as normal  Instead of considering nuclear family as the ideal type of family, Eichler suggest expansion on the concept of what family is o Argues important aspects of families include: socialization, emotional relationships, residence, economics, sexuality and reproduction  Definition of a family is important socially and legally has consequences (same-sex legalization means possibility of shared employment benefits) o Inheritance o Medical emergency  Sociologists research variety of family forms  Provide a universal definition of family (when studied globally)  Boundaries of the family concept must be understood as fluid Marriage and Divorce Trends in Canada Marriage  Bill C-38, The civil Marriage act in 2005 legalized same-sex marriages o Placed Canada among a small group of progressive countries o Legalization of same-sex marriages brings forth legitimacy and legal rights and benefits to these same-sex couples o Also demonstrates the fluidity of our society  Overall proportion of married couples has declined  Most choose to live in a common-law, highest rate in Québec  In 2006 families were made up of 68% married couples from 83% in 1981 (Canada)  Common-law families increased from 5.6% to 16% relative to married couple stats  Common-law relations used to be associated with the working class, today they are prevalent amongst all social classes  The increase of women in labor forces and education levels plays a factor in the increase of cohabitation  Common-law union mimics ideals of monogamous, committed relationships o May be viewed as less binding o Flexible relationship o Government treat common-law as binding  Parties are expected to support each other if the union fails o The line between cohabitation and legal marriage is no longer clear Divorce  Most significant changes in Canada surrounding divorce came in 1968 and 1985  Before the 1968 Divorce act, divorce was only granted on the account of adultery, desertion or imprisonment, or if the spouse lived separately for a minimum of 3 years  In 1968 the divorce rate in Canada was at 54.8 divorces per 100 000 population just one year later the divorce rate rose up to 124.2 divorces per 100 000 population o The divorce rate continued to climb until 2000 when it leveled off at 223.6 divorces per 100 000 population  1985 marked the “no-fault” divorce law o Reduced the waiting time to file for divorce to one year o Number of divorces rose significantly o In 1987 granted divorces peaked to 362.3 divorces per 100 000 population  In 1997 changes occurred in regards to child support o Child support takes into account the income of the non-custodial parent o Created uniformity of the way support payment was calculated in Canada by removal of judicial discretion  Changes in the income tax act o Custodial parent has to pay taxes on child support Sociological Approaches to Families Functionalism Concerned with order, consensus, equilibrium and harmony Societal institutions are considered interdependent, if something (economically, education) changes in one institution, it’s inevitably going to change in another In the functionalist view, family is considered to be a major societal institution  Some social functions are accomplished by family o Love, emotional/economical support, sexual expression o Socialized to learn values and norms of larger society o Discipline o Social status is inherited and reproduces based off wealth of parents o Inheritance in general from other family members  Talcott Parsons (1955) o Argued that with industrialization families were no longer economic units-no longer provided food and goods needed  As a result functions within a family became more specialized  Specific roles for men, women and children of a family o Differentiated adult roles o One role was the leader, and the other was the emotional leader (both worked simultaneously in order to keep family relations running smoothly 1. Instrumental Roles: responsible for engaging in paid labor outside the home and o Men should take on the instrumental role (lead role) o Leaving families in order to engage in paid labor o Deal with the world “out there” o More public 2. Expressive Roles: responsible for the emotional well-being of family members and the socialization of children o Argued women should take on the expressive role (emotional task) o Emotional well-being of family members o Socialization of children o More private  Functionalists have been criticized for their approach to gender and expectations of roles based on biology  Also been criticized for not adequately dealing with social conflict and social change  Meg Luxton says that Parson’s approach is benign in intent (harmless) o But as a normal and functional notion opening the window for other families to be considered “deviant” or “dysfunctional” o Idyllic family, by functionalist approach, is a normative construction as opposed to real engagement Conflict Theory  Conflict theorists suggest that the way people are exposed to production, wealth and power essentially shapes the way in which they view the world  When these theorists consider family, the look at its relationship to state o E.g. how a given nation’s economy reflects/influences the lives of its families  Functionalists would argue that families work inorder to meet the standards/values/norms of the larger society, whereas conflict theory suggests that families are organized to meet the needs of capitalism and the ruling class’ interests  Conflict is what drives social change, not always a negative thing o Through reform, revolution conflict can be minimized or resolved all together Industrialization and the Family  Friedrich Engels book The origin of the Family, private property and the State entails how the industrial revolution radically altered family forms  The rise of industrialism shifted work places from homes to factories  Men became workers, forced into paid labor o Dependent on owners for material survival  Families shifted from being places of production to places of consumption o No longer produced goods for themselves, instead purchased goods from the market places o Essentials like food, clothing became commodities  Articles available for sale, trade  Engels (conflict theorists) states that material conditions determine family life  Those able to provide necessities amassed social power (i.e. men)  Women and children were of the lowest on the wage ladder, dependent on men for wages and income o Women’s social position declined relative to men o Domestic roles of private subservient domestic laborers subject to male control and authority within the home  Family become private, closed off from public sphere of business and politics Social Reproduction and the Family  Marxist-Feminist theory pay mind to Social Reproduction: the necessary activities that guarantee he day-to-day and generational reproduction and survival of the population  Capital suggest that after a day of work, workers be rejuvenated by comfort of family o Workers are fed, cleaned, rest o Immediate needs are taken care of o Families are also required to make the next generation of workers  Marxist work in the study of families has been criticized for taken for granted the division of domestic labor: The activities required to maintain a home and care for the people who live in it Both Functionalists and conflict approaches to family examine the relationship that connect families to larger society rather than focusing the intra-familial relations Symbolic Interactionism o Micro approach to studying family life o How family members’ behaviors are shaped by their definitions and interpretations of particular situations o May very by family members within family unit o Context is crucial to symbolic interactionists o Symbolic meanings vary from one family to the next, may even vary within family o Researchers in this area would focus on how families would contribute to the development of children o Explore families as co-operative groups with shared interests o Lesbians-last name=legitimacy of family o Ease of access on occasion (e.g. ER) o Proclaim both as the mother, ultimately asserting family as legitimate o Attending parenting support groups not only helped the lesbian couple but helped identify them as a family Roles in Families  Symbolic interactionists use ROLES as one basic concept of their work  Erving Goffman says that people use roles in their daily lives much like actors  S.I. examine the roles we play and experience in out everyday lives o Student at school, roommate in residence, associate at work, etc. o Actions and interactions fluctuate dependent on setting, surrounding and expectations of interactions  Used to explain how competing roles can result in role strain: stress that results when someone doesn’t acquire the appropriate resources to fit a specific role o Ie. Mothers in the working field, still have commitment to their children but want to work money to afford lifestyle o Fathers experience role strain as a result of trying to balance employment with lives at home  “SANDWICHED” is a form of strain o sandwiched between caring for dependent children and elder relatives  little time for women, newly in the labor force, to care for children as well as elders at the same time (common for generations to live among one house hold)  Social interactionists are criticized for their theory of families having free from disagreement type relationships (harmonious) o Peculiarities in individuals may result in family violence, rather than from larger social issues Feminist Theory  Feminist theory hold that families are primary sites for lower ranking of women (prejudice against women)  No one family is natural, not even the typical heterosexual nuclear family  F.T. argue that family forms are reflective of time and palce, even child birth and conception is socially mediated  Family ideology is the most significant contribution of feminist theory to sociology of families o Margrit Eichler and Janet Finch demonstrate the political and ideological holding up of the nuclear family as the ideal and focus on the consequences for women in such an ideology  Criticize that the nuclear family privileges men and subordinates women  Talcott Parsons (functionalist) nuclear family entails women doing household chores  Feminist work deals with how inequality for women is in generated and reproduced through laws, social policies and labor market practices  Marxist feminists argue exploitation of women in families is to meet capitalistic needs o Work places often see themselves as the only priority however women have homes and children to take care of as well as paid work o Makes women dependent on mans income (not as much time to work because often responsible for care-giving, and household chores  Feminist work argues that family is private from public o Social and economic forces affect family (divorce, marriage, adoption laws, custody, child support) o In Canada child tax benefits are determined individually and meant to aid poorer families Chapter 12: Education Education In Canada Education is means of producing good citizens Both Formal and informal means of education contribute to Social Reproduction  By stressing societal social norms and values,, education works to socialize next generations Most formal education  Institutional settings o Regulated and organize by the state Informal Education  Learning activities  People seek outside of formally structures institutions Origins in Public Schooling in Canada Residential Schools  Earliest forms of education were established in the 19 century by missionaries and religious orders o Sought to replace aboriginal knowledge as it was considered inferior to European morality and consciousness o Introduced residential schools in Canada (first foray of formal education)  Aboriginal peoples practiced organic education o Tailored to the practical needs of their families, clans, and communities o Took place in communities amid the neutral environment o No formal teachers o Community leaders were responsible for teaching the children of their clan the proper language, skill, traditions, knowledge and values  A means of ensuring cultural survival  Solution to the “Indian problem” o Government supthrted, church-operated residential school (second half of the 19 century) o Thought the ab. Children were in help, so in order to “save them” they were dragged from their families and teach them the ways of “civilized” people (Europeans) o “Canada’s first Nations people were in the way of the rentless onrush of capitalist and industrial expansion” (for this reason they believed it was necessary to assimilate Aboriginal children into the dominant economic and cultural system) o In residential schools aboriginal people weren’t allowed to speak their own languages, prevented from seeing their families (except short periods of time throughout the term) and subjected to harsh disciplinary manners Mass Education  Industrialization and immigration created the need for an education system for the masses  Reformers argued that education was essential to Canada’s economic development in 1800’s  Argued that a mass education was beneficial for a common moral education  Thus taxes were encouraged for compulsory schools (for girls and boys)  Ontario was the first to offer free compulsory education, other provinces followed suit  By 1900s students could attend free elementary school (tax-supported) in Canada  Compulsory exit age was changed from 12 to 16 in 1919  Boys and girls attended the same schools but often segregated o Different entrances, different playgrounds, separate seating in classr
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