Chapter 15- COMPASS
ProfessorMalcolm Mac Kinnon
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•Traditional nuclear family is a nuclear family in which the wife works in the home
without pay while the husband works outside the home for money.
•This makes the man the primary provider and ultimate authority
•In 1940s and 1950s sociologists believed that the nuclear family was the most
widespread and ideal family form.
•The “working mother” was seen as a unmitigated disaster by functionalist
•Arguments 1. Families have been structured in many ways and that the diversity of
family forms is increasing as people accommodate new social pressures.
•2. The changing family forms do not represent weakening in the quality of people’s
•3. Decrease of the traditional nuclear family has benefited many men and women
•4. The various economic and political reforms such as daycare can eliminate negative
effects of single parents’ households.
•For any society to survive, its members must cooperate- they must have babies
•In their view nuclear traditional families perform five main functions. – Sexual
activity, economic cooperation, reproduction, socialization, and economic support.
•Polygamy- expands the nuclear family horizontally by adding one or more spouse to
•Extended family- expands the nuclear family vertically by adding another
generation- one of more of the spouse’s parents to the household.
•Marriage- socially approved long term sexual and economic union between a man
and a woman.
•1. Sexual regulation – without this anyone could have sex wherever, whenever and
with whomever they pleased. Estimate that by the year 2010, close to 85 percent of
Canadians will approve of non-marital sex.
•2. Economic Cooperation – On average women are physically weaker than men –
pregnancy and nursing have restricted women in their activities. Men seem more
cable to lumber, mine, clear land, and build a house while women are capable to
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cook, clean, and care for children. According to Murdock- if a marriage have both
sexual and economic facts it created one decent relationship.
•3. Reproduction – Before the invention of modern contraception, sex resulted in the
birth of a baby. Murdock says that children are an investment to the future. When
children become adults they often help their elderly parents.
•4. Socialization- Parents should teach the kids language, values, beliefs, skills,
religion, and much else.
•5. Emotional support – Nuclear family gives its members love, affection, and
companionship. The mother who is responsible for ensuring the families emotional
well being. It is called the primary expressive role because she is the one who bears
children and nurses them.
•Preliterate, foraging societies – people subsist by hunting animals and gathering
wild edible plants. Foraging societies are nomadic groups of 100 of fewer people.
Most men hunt while most women father. In some cases women hunt.
•Children are considered an investment in the future. Life in highly cooperative.
Women and men care for and even breastfeed- each others children.
•The Canadian Middle Class in the 1950s – function of the family was less important
after the WWII.
• Unlike this in the suburban and urban areas only one person played an important
role. – It was usually the husband. As children enjoyed more time to engage in
leisure time. The women got married, had babies, and stayed home to raise them.
•15 years after the world war II (Great depression), Canadians were forced to
postpone marriage because of widespread poverty.
•The divorce rate is the number of divorces that occur in a year for every 1000 people
in the population
•The marriage rate is the number of marriages that occur in a year for every 1000
people in the population.
•The total fertility rate is the average number of children that would be born to a
woman over her lifetime if she had the same number of children as women in each
age cohort in a given years.
•Conflict and feminist theories – gender inequality
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