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Chapter 11

Tepperman Chapter 11


Department
Sociology (Arts)
Course Code
SOCI 250
Professor
Jason Carmichael
Chapter
11

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Chapter 11 – Families
Different Kinds of Families
Everyone in a family is part of a kinship
Kinship group – a group of people who share a relationship through blood or
marriage and have positions in a hierarchy of rights over the property
may also control where the members must live, whom they can marry, and
even their life opportunities
definition varies between societies, but kinship relations are important
everywhere
patrilineal kinship systems trace the kin relationships through the male line
matrilineal kinship systems trace the kin relationships through the female line
bilateral kinship systems trace the kin relationships through both lines
however kinship systems don’t determine who has more authority, only who
gets property rights or position in a community
our society is bilateral because families from both sides of the family are
considered kin
family – a group of people related by kinship or similar close ties in which the adults
assume responsibility for the care and upbringing of their natural or adopted
children. Members of a family support one another financially, materially, and
emotionally
nuclear family – a family unit comprising one or two parents and any dependent
children who live together in one household separate from relatives
nuclear families are also conjugal families
priority is given to marital ties
over blood ties
Western families are neolocal marriage brings with it the expectation that
each of the partners will leave the parental home and set up a new
residence, forming another independent nuclear family
extended family – more than two generations of relatives living together in a
household. The arrangement often includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, and
dependent nephews and nieces
The extended family is a consanguine family, because preference is given to
blood ties over marital ties
They stress relationships between parents and their children, and with other ‘
blood-related’ members of the kin group
Today many families have no children whereas many common-law couples
have children this is a new development

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Life course approach – an approach to studying family life where it follows the
variety of social and interpersonal dynamics of close relations and examines how
they change throughout our lifetimes. It notes how families change to meet new
needs, such as those created by the arrival, care, or departure of children
Another approach is to look at family relations from the perspectives of
different family members (because the family does not move as a whole,
each person is an individual and experiences the family differently)
Another approach is to collect data in new ways to that family diversity can
be studied
Example:
Following individual children as they grow up and surveying them and their
families every two years; data are collected on family changes, schooling,
health and other variables that affect the children’s lives
Patriarchy – male dominance that is justified in a society’s system of values. This
dominance is tied to the ideology of gender and can be ground in practically every
society
Basic Aspects of Canadian Families
Families include married and non-married couples, whether same-sex or not,
and with one dependent non-married children
Common-law union is rising while marriage is decreasing
Families have some kind of attachment and dependency or inter-dependency
Family relations are special because they tend to include long-term
commitments, both to each other and to the shared family by tradition and
law organized to regulate dependency
Adults of a family are expected to have a long-term exclusive sexual
relationship
Parents and relatives are supposed to keep children safe from all sorts of
harm
Likewise, adult children are supposed to protect and help their parents
Families are more defined by processes rather than by structures
Families in Aboriginal Communities
Have faced many hardships over the years being marginalized, failed
assimilation etc.
Largely egalitarian everyone is seen as important and has a role in the
family
Emphasis on preserving tradition and culture
Things are declining because of breakdown of traditional values, alcohol
abuse, drug dependency and suicide rates

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Same-Sex Couples
Legal in Canada
Steps towards child custody, access, and adoption
Bill C-38, the Civil Marriages Act, July 20/2005
Fertility Trends
World’s fertility rate is going down
The average number of births per woman is approx. 1.5, an all-time low
In Canada almost half of the women who gave birth were 30 or older
Canadian women have been waiting longer and longer to start families
Birth rate is at a stable, below replacement level that will erase the national
population in foreseeable centuries unless immigrants and their children
continue to arrive
One-child policy in China was a ‘coercive (involuntary) model’ of fertility
decline
Today in China there is no explicit law except government still uses coercive
strategies such as fines
Although one-child policy worked, a voluntary program of family limitation is
better (like Brazil or India eg sterilization program started by Gandhi) slow,
but lowers infant mortality rate, reduces the economic value of children, and
make available an improved lifestyle to people who consume less of their
income because of children
Theoretical Perspectives on the Family
Structural Functionalism
Elements in society are all interrelated
Families provide nurture and socialization
A gendered division of domestic labour is functional
The family is a central institution in society
The family is a microcosm of society – individual family members come
together in a unified and productive whole
The familial division of labour is the key to a family’s success
The regulation of sexual behaviour and reproduction, the provision of
physical and psychological needs of members, and the socialization of
children are important family functions
Modern functionalism argues that certain family forms are natural or
inevitable
Family’s division of labour is the key to its success although the divisions
of labour has changed
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