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SOCA01H3 (481)
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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA01H3
Professor
Mc Kinon

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Chapter 15: Families
A nuclear family consists of a cohabiting man and women who maintain a socially approved sexual
relationship and have at least one child
A traditional family is a nuclear family in which the husband works outside the home for money and the
wife works without pay in the home
oThis makes him the provider and ultimate authority
Family Types in 1901:
o69.1%- Married with children
o17%- Married without children
o13.9%-Lone Parents
Family Types in 2006
o29.9%- Married couples without children
o38.7%- Married couples with children at home
o16.9%- Lone-parent families
o6.9%- Common-Law couples with children at home
o8.5%- Common-law couples without children
Some sociologists, many of them functionalists, view the decreasing prevalence of the married-couple
family and the rise of the working mother as an unmitigated disaster
oIn their view, rising rates of crime, illegal drug use, poverty, and welfare dependency can be traced
to the fact that so many Canadian children are not living in two-parent households with stay-at-
home mothers
oThey want to make it harder to get a divorce and they want people to place less emphasis on
individual happiness at the expense of family responsibility
Other sociologists influenced by conflict and feminist theories, disagree with the functionalist assessment
o1). They argue that it is inaccurate to talk about the family, as if this important social institution
assumes or should assume only a single form
They emphasize that families have been structured in many ways and that the diversity of
family forms is increasing as people accommodate new social pressures
o2). They argue that changing family forms do not necessarily represent deterioration in the quality
of peoples lives
Such changes often represent improvement in way people live
www.notesolution.com
They believe that various economic and political reforms, such as the creation of an
affordable nationwide daycare system, could eliminate most of the negative effects of
single parent households
Functionalism and the Nuclear Ideal
Functional Theory
In their view, the nuclear family performs five main function: regulated sexual activity, economic
cooperation, reproduction, socialization, and emotional support
Other family forms exist:
oPolygamy expands the nuclear family “horizontally” by adding one or more spouses (usually
women) to the household
oExtended family expands the nuclear family “vertically” by adding another generation-one or
more of the spouses parents- to the household
The basic building block of the extended family/polygamous family is the nuclear unit
Marriage is a socially approved, presumably long-term sexual and economic union between a man and a
woman. It involves reciprocal rights and obligations between spouses and between parents and children
Five main functions of marriage and the nuclear family in detail (George Murdock):
1). Sexual Regulation
oImagine a world without an institution that defines the boundaries within which legitimate sexual
activity is permitted- such a world would be disrupted by many people having sex wherever,
whenever and with whomever they pleased-bc marriage provides a legitimate forum for expression
the intense human need for sexual activity it makes social order possible
2) Economic Cooperation
oWhy then apart from sex, do people marry?
oMan and women make an exceptionally efficient cooperating unit
Women are weaker than men-do lighter tasks
These task include gathering and planting food, carrying water, cooking,
mankind and repairing clothing, making pottery and caring for children
Most men possess superior strength, they can specialize in lumbering , mining
quarrying, land clearing, house building
3). Reproduction
oBefore the invention of modern contraception, sex often resulted in the birth of a baby
oChildren are investments in the future- by the age of 6-7 children in most societies do some chores-
their economic value to the family increases as they mature
www.notesolution.com
oWhen children become adults, they often help support their elderly parents
4). Socialization
oThe investment in children can be realized only if adults rear the young to maturity- this involves
not only caring for them physically but also by socialization- teaching them language, values,
beliefs, skills, religion and etc
oTalcott Pasrons regarded socialization as the basic and irreducible function of the family
5). Emotional Support
oParsons also noted that the nuclear family universally gives its members love, affection and
companionship
oIn a nuclear family:
Mother develops an expressive role because she is the one who bears children and nurses
them
It falls on the husband to take on the more instrumental role of earning a living
outside the family –primary provider makes him ultimate authority
Foraging Societies
Foraging societies are nomadic groups of 100 or few people
oBased on Murdocks and Parsons analysis a gender division of labour exists among foragers- most
men hunt and most women gather
Women do most of the children care
oGender division of labour is not associated with large differences in power and authority
oForagers travel in small camps or band- the band decides by consensus when to send out groups of
hunter
oRelations between the sexes are quite egalitarian-children are not viewed just as an investment in
the future- each nuclear unit does not execute the important economic and socialization functions
in isolation and in private
Cooperative band members execute most economic and socialization functions in public
They care for everyone not just their husband and children
The Canadian Middle Class in the 1950s
On the 19th century family owned farm, the wife played an indispensable productive role while the
husband was out in the field or on the range- she took responsibility for the garden, the dairy, the
poultry, and the management of the household
The children also did crucial chores with considerable economic value
www.notesolution.com

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Description
Chapter 15: Families A nuclear family consists of a cohabiting man and women who maintain a socially approved sexual relationship and have at least one child A traditional family a nuclear family in which the husband works outside the home for money and the wife works without pay in the home o This makes him the provider and ultimate authority Family Types in 1901: o 69.1%- Married with children o 17%- Married without children o 13.9%-Lone Parents Family Types in 2006 o 29.9%- Married couples without children o 38.7%- Married couples with children at home o 16.9%- Lone-parent families o 6.9%- Common-Law couples with children at home o 8.5%- Common-law couples without children Some sociologists, many of them functionalists, view the decreasing prevalence of the married-couple family and the rise of the working mother as an unmitigated disaster o In their view, rising rates of crime, illegal drug use, poverty, and welfare dependency can be traced to the fact that so many Canadian children are not living in two-parent households with stay-at- home mothers o They want to make it harder to get a divorce and they want people to place less emphasis on individual happiness at the expense of family responsibility Other sociologists influenced by conflict and feminist theories, disagree with the functionalist assessment o 1). They argue that it is inaccurate to talk about the family, as if this important social institution assumes or should assume only a single form They emphasize that families have been structured in many ways and that the diversity of family forms is increasing as people accommodate new social pressures o 2). They argue that changing family forms do not necessarily represent deterioration in the quality of peoples lives Such changes often represent improvement in way people live www.notesolution.com They believe that various economic and political reforms, such as the creation of an affordable nationwide daycare system, could eliminate most of the negative effects of single parent households Functionalism and the Nuclear Ideal Functional Theory In their view, the nuclear family performs five main function: regulated sexual activity, economic cooperation, reproduction, socialization, and emotional support Other family forms exist: o Polygamy expands the nuclear family horizontally by adding one or more spouses (usually women) to the household o Extended family expands the nuclear family vertically by adding another generation-one or more of the spouses parents- to the household The basic building block of the extended familypolygamous family is the nuclear unit Marriage is a socially approved, presumably long-term sexual and economic union between a man and a woman. It involves reciprocal rights and obligations between spouses and between parents and children Five main functions of marriage and the nuclear family in detail (George Murdock): 1). Sexual Regulation o Imagine a world without an institution that defines the boundaries within which legitimate sexual activity is permitted- such a world would be disrupted by many people having sex wherever, whenever and with whomever they pleased-bc marriage provides a legitimate forum for expression the intense human need for sexual activity it makes social order possible 2) Economic Cooperation o Why then apart from sex, do people marry? o Man and women make an exceptionally efficient cooperating unit Women are weaker than men-do lighter tasks These task include gathering and planting food, carrying water, cooking, mankind and repairing clothing, making pottery and caring for children Most men possess superior strength, they can specialize in lumbering , mining quarrying, land clearing, house building 3). Reproduction o Before the invention of modern contraception, sex often resulted in the birth of a baby o Children are investments in the future- by the age of 6-7 children in most societies do some chores- their economic value to the family increases as they mature www.notesolution.com o When children become adults, they often help support their elderly parents 4). Socialization o The investment in children can be realized only if adults rear the young to maturity- this involves not only caring for them physically but also by socialization- teaching them language, values, beliefs, skills, religion and etc o Talcott Pasrons regarded socialization as the basic and irreducible function of the family 5). Emotional Support o Parsons also noted that the nuclear family universally gives its members love, affection and companionship o In a nuclear family: Mother develops an expressive role because she is the one who bears children and nurses them It falls on the husband to take on the more instrumental role of earning a living outside the family primary provider makes him ultimate authority Foraging Societies Foraging societies are nomadic groups of 100 or few people o Based on Murdocks and Parsons analysis a gender division of labour exists among foragers- most men hunt and most women gather Women do most of the children care o Gender division of labour is not associated with large differences in power and authority o Foragers travel in small camps or band- the band decides by consensus when to send out groups of hunter o Relations between the sexes are quite egalitarian-children are not viewed just as an investment in the future- each nuclear unit does not execute the important economic and socialization functions in isolation and in private Cooperative band members execute most economic and socialization functions in public They care for everyone not just their husband and children The Canadian Middle Class in the 1950s On the 19 century family owned farm, the wife played an indispensable productive role while the husband was out in the field or on the range- she took responsibility for the garden, the dairy, the poultry, and the management of the household The children also did crucial chores with considerable economic value www.notesolution.com
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