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Chapter 8

SOC260 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Collective Action, Boomerang Generation, Family Values

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stephen speake

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CAGE(s), Families, Domestic Labour, and the Processes of Reproduction
Traditional belief systems "put girls on trajectories of low income b/c they usually emphasize how
important marriage and family is expense of economic self-sufficiency.”
In one study the most common pathway off welfare was a marriage or common-law relationship w/ an
employed man
Women provide for children/families but the ideologies shaping this limit their opportunities for
education and paid work.
o So…women often have to rely on their spouses or the state for money
David Popenoe
Argues that the family is in a state of decline
Families don’t serve functions like procreation, socialization, caring, economic support, or sexual
regulation as well as they used to
Families have lost their social power & control over their members
Partly b/c families are smaller, less stable, and shorter lasting than they used to be
Partly b/c of the move towards individualism
Most significant trends since the 60’s:
o Decline in fertility
o More women in the work force and less solely taking care of children/family
o Increases in divorce rates, stepfamilies, and single-parent families
o Increases in people being single and non-family living
Family members are less connected to one another b/c women are more self-sufficient
Families are less willing to carry out their traditional functions
Families have transferred their power to other institutions like schools
Family values are eroding
Self-fulfillment & egalitarianism > family identification, loyalty, mutual assistance, and concern for the
perpetuation of family
Family is the most FUNDAMENTAL unit of society
Most serious consequence of family decline:
o Fewer children are living in nuclear families kids can’t become successful adults w/out proper
socialization w/in their families
o Increase in non-traditional families is changing the ways we live together and raise our kids
Criticisms of Popenoe’s theory:
o Uses a very conservative & limited idea of ‘family
So he underestimates how central families remain for many people in contemporary
American & Canadian societies
o Ignores the fact that ‘the family’ is a primary site of oppression and violence against women,
children, and the elderly
What is a ‘family’?
Popenoe: family = “a group in which people typically live together in a household and function as a
cooperative unit, particularly through the sharing of economic resources in the pursuit of domestic
o Ideal ‘group of people’ = very narrowly defined
The majority of Canadians live w/ someone else
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