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CHAPTERS 1 to 8 NOTES.docx

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York University
PSYC 3630
Erin Ross

Chapter 1: Marriage, Relationships, and Family Commitments: Making Choices in a Changing Society Defining Family Family: any sexually expressive, parent-child or other kin relationship in which people, usually related by ancestry, marriage or adoption, (1) form an economic and/or otherwise practical unit and care for children or other dependents, (2) consider their identity to be significantly attached to the group, and (3) commit to maintaining that group over time. Functional definitions: the purpose for which a thing exists (e.g. caring for family members, children and other dependents) Structural definitions: emphasize the form that a thing takes what it actually is Family Functions: Raising children responsibly o Ensure that reproduction takes place under circumstances that help to guarantee the responsible care and socialization of children Providing economic and other practical support o Providing practical needs such as food, clothing, and shelter o Earn a living outside the home and pool together your resources Offering emotional security Structural Family Definitions U.S. Census a family is a group of two or more persons related by blood, marriage or adoption and residing together in a household Household: any group of people residing together Family structure: the form a family takes Extended family: parents, children, grandparents, and other relatives (preindustrial or traditional societies) Nuclear family: husband, wife, and children (Industrial or modern societies) Postmodern: there is no typical family Single-parent families Stepfamilies Cohabitating heterosexual couples Gay and lesbian marriages and families Three-generation families Communal households Postmodern family: acknowledges the fact that families today exhibit a multiplicity of forms and that new or altered family forms continue to emerge and develop Adapting family definitions to the postmodern family David Popence defines family as a group of people in which people typically live together in a household and function as a cooperative unit, particularly though the sharing of economic resources in the pursuit of domestic activities Frank Furstenberg defines family as membership related by blood, legal ties, adoption, and informal ties including fictive or socially agreed upon kinship Relaxed Institutional Control over Relationship Choices Family Decline or Family Change? Social Institutions: Patterned and largely predictable ways of thinking and behaving beliefs, values, attitudes, and norms that are organized around vital aspects of group life and serve essential social functions o Meant to meet peoples basic needs and enable the society to survive Family decline perspective: claims that cultural change toward excessive individualism and self-indulgence has led to high divorce rates and could undermine responsible parenting o Reduced the child centeredness and contributed to the weakening of the institution of marriage Family change perspective: argues that we need to view the family from a historical standpoint Three Societal Trends that impact families 1) New communication and reproductive technologies o Communication Technologies: i.e. cellphones, GPS in cars, email, social networking Access to more social support internet Source of conflict pornography Breaking up/divorce is more hurtful if they use facebook Digital divide: divide those who have access to internet and those who dont and cant access the benefits of computer use o Reproductive technologies: in vitro, sperm donations, assisted reproductive technology (ART) Allows infertile couples to have biological children Raise ethical issues kill excess embryos Raise inequality issues affordability, choosing traits/gender through screening 2) Changes in Americas race/ethnic composition o Increasing ethnic diversity o Transnational families: members bridge and maintain relationships across national boarders o Binational: nuclear family members have different legal status E.g. one partner is a legal resident and the other isnt 3) Economic uncertainty o More marriages are delayed until people can earn enough to suppose a family o More unintended pregnancies because of decrease in purchasing contraceptives o Fertility treatments are down expensive o Fewer families will send their children to college/university o More boomerang kids young adults returning to live with their parents o More homeless families or more extended families or intergenerational households o Unemployment raises psychological depression rates o Delayed retirement o Inheritances will decline in value o Child and partner abuse increases The freedom and pressures of choosing Structural constraints: economic and social forces that limit personal choices Family policy: all the procedures, regulations, attitudes, and goals of government, religious institutions, and the workplace that affect families * Laws place some families in the margins of society while privileging others o e.g. laws privilege heterosexual couples by only allowing them to get married How Social Factors influence Personal choices 1) Easier to make the common choice o e.g. choosing to stay single longer (more comfortable choice now) 2) Expanding peoples options o e.g. availability of effective contraceptives makes limiting ones family size easier than in the past 3) new forms of reproductive technology provide unprecedented options for becoming a parent Making choices Choosing by default: unconscious decisions, choices that people make when they are not aware of all the alternatives or when they pursue the proverbial path of least resistance o When people pursue a course of action primarily because it seems to be the easiest thing to do Choosing Knowledgeably o Recognize as many options as possible o Recognize the social pressures that may influence personal choices o Consideration of the consequences of each alternative rather than just gravitating toward the option that seems most attractive o Become aware of your values and choosing to act consistently with them o Rechecking your decision A family of individuals Family identity: ideas and feelings about the uniqueness and value of ones family unit o Emerges via traditions and rituals (family dinners, celebrations, trips, family hobbies) Self-concept: basic feelings people have about themselves, their abilities, characteristics and worth o How family members and others interact with and respond to us impacts our self-concept and identity Familistic (Communal) Values: values that emphasize the needs, foals and identity of the group o Family togetherness, stability, and loyalty Individualistic (Self-fulfillment) Values: values that encourage people to think in terms of personal happiness and goals and the development of distinct individual identity 2 guidelines on how partners can still stay together o 1) Take responsibility for own past choices and decisions rather than blaming previous mistakes on their mates o 2) recognize that a changing partner may be difficult to live with for a while be flexible enough to allow for each partners individual changes Marriages and Families: Four themes 1) Best way to make choices is knowledgeably 2) Societal or structural conditions can limit or expand our options 3) We live in a society characterized by considerable change which can make person decision making more challenging than the past 4) We affect out social environment every time we make a choice Chapter 2 Exploring Relationships and Families Science: Transcending Personal Experience The blinders of personal experience: Personal experience Science: a logical system that bases knowledge on systematic observation and on empirical evidence Theoretical Perspectives on the family Theoretical perspectives: ways of viewing reality equivalent to lenses through which observers view, organize, then interpret what they see 9 theoretical perspectives related to families: o 1) Family Ecology Family ecology perspective: explores how a family is influenced by the surrounding environment E.g. the relationship of work to family life Natural physical-biological environment: climate and climate change, soil, plants, animals Social-cultural environment: human-made things or cultural artifacts such as bridges, phones, and cultural values that products such as language and law Stresses the interdependence of all the worlds families This perspective helps to identify factors that are important to societal and community support for all
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