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Chapter 1 Reading notes: Introduction: Changing and diverse family forms  In 2006 for the first time in Canadian census history, married and common- law couples, with and without children included same sex and heterosexual unions.  Today, Canadian families come in a plurality of forms  Blended families- composed of a child born to the couple, in addition to children born from a previous union of one of the two spouses.  Transnational/ multilocal families- people who are temporarily separated from their children and spouses as part of a strategy to secure a better economic future and opportunities for their family. Some have been called “satellite families” a term first used in the 1980’s to describe Chinese children whose parents were immigrants to North America, but who have returned to their original country of origin after immigration and left children in Canada  A lot of younger Canadians find themselves increasingly unable to leave their parental homes and establish independent households. Because of changing economic circumstances and difficulty finding stable, long-term decent paying work, coupled with an increasing demand for post secondary education and large debt loads, researchers have seen the postponement of home leaving or a delayed child launch Canadian families in historical context  First nations families have taken on a number of structures, sixes and forms depending on whether they were nomadic/foraging societies or sedentary and agrarian. Families were also differently affected depending on who they have contact with, the nature of their relations and the diverse influence that came with colonization.  Because of our diversity in Canada, it is hard to find the typical Canadian family in any given point in our history.  Pre industrial families  The first Canadian census took place in 1871 four years after confederation  Most Canadians lived in rural areas, living off the land. Despite the considerable regional farming and agriculture, many families across the country lived an unpredictable existence. Both fertility and infant mortality rates remained high into the early 20 century. Many fathers worked further away for parts of the year to provide for their families, resulting in women raising the children by themselves  A lot of children in these times did not know or ever meet their grandparents due to the early mortality rate  On the east coast, there was adaptive family economy that emphasized the attempts to maximize economic well-being by diversity the employment opportunities of family members. Men were farmers but also engaged in seasonal work such as lumbering, sea work or shipyard work. The timing of marriages, family structure and family size were affected by these adaptive work strategies and often resulted in large families that housed additional family member with occupations. Because of the father’s absence, women and children were responsibly for farm maintenance.  Children also moved away from the home but there were variations according to social class: wealthier children moved away fro school but children from poorer families moved away fro waged work. The waged work of children helped contribute to the family and household economy.  Women and children were subject to the authority of fathers  In 19 century Ontario, male domination contained property laws, child custody legislation and inheritance rights. In 1859 married women in English Canada had no rights to their own property in their own name and were subject to private patriarchy in their homes. In addition, women had little control over marriage, fertility and family size and they received relatively little tangible recognition for their productive and reproductive work  In the 1800’s marriage and childbirth took on different meanings and value within families depending on the families religious affiliation. Protestant theology only communion and baptism were considered sacraments, marriage was a covenant and childbirth had no status. In Roman Catholics, marriage was one of the seven sacraments but childbirth was not. For Anglicans, childbirth was accompanied by a lesser ritual called churching- the reincorporation of the family into the community-, which signified the resumption of sexual relations between spouses and the restoration of normal domestic order.  By the late 19 century there was much less diversity and flexibility in the definition of marriage as the diverse forms of marriage of the Aboriginal groups, immigrants and migrants were undermined and delegitimized.  Monogamous- being married to one person at a time.  Industrialization and family life  Despite the entry of women and children into paid employment, paid work was seen as a men’s domain  By 1971, women and children made up to about 42% of the industrial workforce in Montreal, on the most industrialized cities at the time. Girls as young as 11 years of age worked in Canadian mills.  Women made about half of a mans wage and to protect men’s wages, provincial governments began passing legislation to remove or limits women’s and children’s employment to protect them from harsh factory conditions.  With industrialization came urbanization which resulted in overcrowding, and eventually smaller size families. This coincided with the shift from children as producers to children as consumers.  Motherhood was expected to become a women’s full-time job and preoccupation while men took on the breadwinner role. Changing definitions of family  Undergoes many changes  Nuclear family- included a couple and their children, sharing the same household but may also define one parent and his/her children.  With divorce and remarriages were are also seeing an increase in the number of bi-nuclear families where children of divorced parents move and live across households.  There is also and extended family- several generations or sets of kin- grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins- share a household.  The difficulty if defining the family stems from the fact that there are legal/formal definitions, like the census family, social definitions for the different organizations and social groups, and personal definitions of families that are created for different purposes and in different contexts.  Many of use have come up with our own definitions of who is and is not part of our family  The terms aunt and uncle are commonly used across cultures to selectively include some close friends or frequent visitors to ones home as kin- commonly refereed to as fictive kin  Who is included in the definition of family is an issue of great importance as well as great consequence, because who we include in our definition will determine who is eligible to claim tax benefits, sponsor family members in immigration, claim insurance benefits etc.  Eichler challenges us to move from who definitions of family to what definition of family which focuses on the services and supports provided by various members.  Family is a changing social construct that reflects variations in how states, institutions and individuals understand, experience and interact within it. Theoretical and Methodological approaches to studying families  Functionalism  Society is a living organism, which is made up of a series of interrelated parts working together for the good of the whole. Each social institution, serves functions, keeping society in a state of equilibrium  Individuals fill specific and prescribed roles for the proper functioning of the institution.  Social change is undesirable  Murdock believed we can best understand the family by examining what it does and how it functions for and within society  Talcott Parsons also studied the functions of family by looking at the roles men and women fill. Men were biologically better suited to fulfill instrumental functions, which are tasks that needed to be performed to ensure families physical survival, including providing for the material needs of the family by earning an income. Women were better suited to perform expressive functions- the tasks involved in building emotionally supportive relationships among family members (nurturing role)  Popular from 1940-1950’s  Marxism  Work of Engels and Marx  Engels argued that a number of distinct phases in human history shape, alter and constrain human relations  He explained that the mode of production affects the way we organize social life and experience family relations.  He noted in the shift away from primitive communism, characterized by a foraging existence, that there was the absence of the notion of private ownership and relative equality between the sexes  Then with land-based feudalism came a reorganization and privatization of family life and a change in power relations between the sexes. With this private ownership and male control of land and other property, women lost power and control both within and outside the families.  For Marxists, the social goal is to abolish private property and re- establish communism.  Social change is normal and at times desirable  Symbolic Interactionism  Mead assumed that individuals were active agents of social life. If you want to understand social life in general and family life in particular you should examine how individuals construct meaning through their daily interactions with others.  Understanding family involves understanding parent child relations and the relationship between the sexes. Exchanges or interactions between them lead to the organization of the family and society.  This approach implies that the individuals and interactions within families shape the organization of family life which in turn helps shape larger organizations like the state  Family Systems theory  Assumes that a family is a relatively closed system of social interactions or a site of interacting personalities.  An individuals problems and behaviour are best understood in the context of families. The family is more then a collection of individual’s or interactions it is a natural social system with its own rules, roles, communication patterns and power structure.  Developmental theories  Families were influenced by developmental process or experience life cycles with outlined stages  At each life stage (marriage, child-bearing, preschool, school, teen, launching center, middle-aged, aging) family members depending on their physical maturation are challenged by different developmental tasks and normative events which at times result in stress, crises and critical transitions   Biases in Traditional Approaches/Theorizing  Monolithic bias- theories tended to under-represent the diversity of family forms that actually existed in any given society  Conservative bias- theorists tended to provide only a romanticized view of the nuclear family and regarded recent changes as short lived  Sexist bias- the assumption that there is a natural division of functions between the sexes  Ageist bias- theorists also almost exclusively talked about families as involving exchanges between two middle aged adults, largely excluding children and the elderly in analysis  Microstructural bias- a tendency to treat families as an enclosed unit, typically ignoring external forces  Racist bias- theorists devalued or outright ignored families of culturally or ethnically dominant groups  Heterosexist bias- treated the heterosexual family as natural and denying family status to lesbian and gay families  The big bang- feminist theories  Believe that gender relations in the home and in other institutions are neither natural nor immutable, but rather historical and sociocultural questions.  A lot of different types of feminists Changing Canadian Demographic Trends  The age people are getting married are increasing  Common law status  Decrease in the amount of marriages  Postponing child birth or choosing not to have children  Divorce rates have remained stable  Dual- earner families have contributed to declining birth rates  Despite the number of women working for pay, the attitudes about unpaid household work that is performed have not shifted.  Due to the decline in population from lower birth rates, Canada relies on immigration in order to maintain population growth Chapter 2 Reading notes: Intimacy, commitment and family formation Introduction  Families are formed in many different ways  In most western societies, there is a social expectation that emotional and sexual intimacy between a couple and their commitment to caring for each other is a central aspect of new family formation  The word intimate is used to describe close emotional relationships such as those between friends or siblings as well as sexual relationships that may or may not include emotional closeness.  Diversity of intimacy is individual  Social norms of commitment such as marriage, are one way in which intimate relations are legitimated in society Intimacy: meanings and theories  The pure relationship is entered into for its own sake, what can be derived by each person from a sustained association with another, and which is continued only in so far as it is though by both parties to deliver enough satisfaction for each individual to remain in it.  Plastic sexuality- sexual activity can be separated from reproduction  Socio-cultural constructions of romantic love change over time and across cultures  Qualitative studies confirm the significance of equality for those in intimate same sex relationships, particularly as opposed to institutionalized (marriage) heterosexual relationships. Getting to know you: Dating  North America has had a dating culture since the early 20 century. Currently, the dominant dating culture approves and facilitates romantic heterosexual relationships between young people, without assuming that those relationships will lead to marriage or to other long term commitments  In the 19 century, socializing between young men and women was supervised by adults and seen as a prelude to marriage.  It has arisen in north America with increased affluence, longer periods of education and the increase of youth-focusing socializing. As with companionate marriage and the image of the family as private dating culture seems to be part of modernization and individualism  Dating norms shift with every generation  Dating now reflects more group-focused outings rather then pair outings  The most common understanding of a date is that it involves two people and allows them a chance to get to know each other  64% of American teens experience hooking up  studies suggest that the closeness of friendship may be seen as sufficient to begin a sexual relationship for many teens, in contrast to social expectations that sexual intimacy follows romantic involvement.  Some researchers use script theory- states that there are sets of stereotypical actions expected in certain social situations. Scripts help people organize the world around them, providing predictability to social interactions. There is a public and well defined cultural script for heterosexual first dates including actions such as organizing a date, preparations, interactions with partner and ending the date. Boys are initiators and girls are reactors  Several aspects of the first date script are common to same sex and heterosexual couples. But in same sex dates, there are no initiator/reactor roles, because both are involved.  Not all cultural groups approve of dating Personal ads and Electronic communication  Such advertising may be attractive to users for several reasons: increased working hours across North America may make it difficult to find social time, the internet makes ad use fast and easy, ads allow both advertiser and respondent to pre-screen dates and using ads avoids facing rejection in person.  Social exchange theory has been the frame for several heterosexual and same sex personal ad studies from the 1970’s into 21 century.  Social exchange theory- hypothesizes that people commodify a range of social characteristics, including physical attractiveness, youth, wealth, education, gender role, and social status and then offer their best traits in trade for traits they desire. This theory is used in studies of dating, cohabitation, and marriage partner choice  Much research on personal ads has found that traits appropriate to stereotypical gender roles are offered and sought by heterosexual advertisers. Heterosexual men are more likely to advertise for physical attractiveness and youth in women while offering financial security, height and stats.  The social factors that influence online dating in Canada are the increased numbers of single person households, the time pressures of careers, the increased mobility of single people, and the move away from the workplace as place to meet romantic partners  Self-presentation is deliberate and conscious online, and communication clues such as facial expression and tone of voice are absent from screen based communication thus it requires people to be creating in interacting.  Online dating etiquette tends to reflect traditional gendered dating patterns such as men being expected to initiate contact.  Online communication can help maintain intimate relationships when partners are working in separate cities.  Following friends or contacts through their day as they post updates can become a way of seeing into their lives, creating a sense of closeness through detailed knowledge of their activities. Intimacy, living alone and friendship  The number of Canadians living in single-person households is rising  To be singly in our current culture is still often seen in negative terms, people who live singly may be seen as selfish and immature, lonely and unfulfilled.  The dominant image of singleness as a status marked by loneliness is challenged by representations in which friendship networks provide a rich source of meaningful and fulfilling connections Family formation, social structures and commitment  Cohabitation- an emotional, sexual and usually residential relationship between two people that is not legalized through marriage  Has become a common experience for younger Canadians over the last 25 years, and the number of common law couples has increased and is now seen as the fastest growing family structure  The increase in this represents a dramatic cultural shift in attitudes towards and experiences of forming couples, and living with a partner is becoming more social acceptable  Younger Canadians decide to cohabitate because about 2/3 see no need to marry, and this is tied into having little religious involvement.  Employment and education may make women feel freer to choose cohabitation instead of marriage Marriage: Legal structures and cultural privilege  Commitment  Marriage is viewed as an expression of moral values and reflects the belief that children should have married parents.  It has deep historical, religious and legal roots, it has been a place of maintenance of patriarchal authority and direct control over women and children  There are
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