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Chapter 15

Sociology - Chapter 15.docx

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Robert Brym

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Sociology Chapter 15: Families Is “The Family” In Decline?  Lance Roberts grew up in the 1950s in a tight, middle-class suburban family and neighborhood in Edmonton. Two things cracked his idea of the norm: o 1. A friend went to Hawaii because his father and mother worked (unusual) o 2. His mother had to vote the same as his father, or his father’s vote would be cancelled.  Nuclear family – consists of a cohabiting man and woman who maintain a socially approved sexual relationship and have at least one child  Traditional nuclear family – a nuclear family in which the husband works outside the home for money and the wife works without pay in the home  1901 – 69% Canadian families were nuclear declined to 39% in 2006  new family forms: single- parent families, families without children, families with same-sex-partners, families in which the partners aren’t legally married, and blended families that include children from more than one previous marriage.  Functionalists – less nuclear families leads to social problems – crime, drug use, poverty, welfare  they want it to be difficult to change the norm  people put their family first before their own happiness  Conflict and feminist theorists – believe in a diversity of family forms Functionalism and theNuclear Ideal Functional Theory  Nuclear familyhas5 main functions: o 1. It provides a basis for regulated sexual activity o 2. Economic cooperation o 3. Reproduction o 4. Socialization o 5. Emotional support  Polygamy – expands the nuclear family “horizontally” by adding one or more spouses (usually women) to the household o Allowed in less industrialized countries but most are monogamous because its affordable  Extended family – expands the nuclear family “vertically” by adding another generation – one or more of the spouses’ parents – to the household o Common all over the world but nuclear family unit still evident  GeorgeMurdock – studied 250 families in 1940s. Nuclear families are distinct because it’s based on marriage – a socially approved, presumably long-term sexual and economic union between a man and a woman. It involves a reciprocal rights and obligations between spouses and between parents and children. Foraging Societies  Foraging societies – nomadic groups of 100 or fewer people  Gendered division of labor: hunters (men) and gatherers (women) BUT men care for children & gather food too and women provide the most food  gender difference ≠ power and authority  egalitarian  The band NOT nuclear family that is the most important  hunting is for everyone  Children not an investment for the future  having less children is better because of uncertain food resources  Highly cooperative and public life  the band is responsible for child’s socialization not just the parents / nuclear family The Canadian Middle Class in the1950s  During WWII the family was put on hold, and women were forced to join the labor force. However, after the war, everyone was eager to start a family and return to normal life, where women would stay at home, income rose, and families owned homes. o 1. Marriage BOOM.  Most married, younger (brides from 24.4 to 23.4, grooms from 27.6 to 26.1)  marriage became about love and companionship o 2. Baby BOOM.  Averaging 4 children in US, Australia, New Zealand. Married men more likely than married women to be in the paid labor force.  Poor women had to work even after the war  Middle-class women “orgy of domesticity”- increasing attention to child rearing and housework, emotional quality of family life - after the war  Marriage rate – the number of marriages that occur in a year for every 1000 people in the population o Declining till after the war in 1942-1946 where it peaked at 10.9, then declining again through 1960s  Divorce rate – the number of divorces that occur in a year for every 1000 people in the population o Incline in 1960s due to liberal laws  Average number of children peaked in 1961, then declined  The trend continued of the gradually declining nuclear family, after interrupted buy WWII  Functionalists ignored: o 1. The traditional nuclear family is based on gender inequality o 2. Changes in power relations between women and men have altered family structures in recent decades Conflict and Feminist Theories  Friedrich Engels – traditional nuclear family emerged with inequalities in wealth. A man had control of the wealth by controlling his wife sexually and economically so the inheritance is passed on only to his offspring  RIGHT - men had control, and even when reforms occurred, women still couldn’t rent a car, take a loan or sign a contract without her husband’s permission. BUT communism (elimination of private property and creation of economic equality) stopped gender inequality and the traditional nuclear family  WRONG about communism (inequality exists in communists and capitalists), a real sexual revolution would end gender inequality and the traditional nuclear family.  Feminists – believe patriarchy – male dominance and norms justifying that dominance - is rooted in the economic, military and cultural history  only a sexual revolution would change this.  Sexual revolution in family structures, authority relations and socialization pattern in Canada and other industrialized countries occurred 60 years ago. Power and Families Love and Mate Selection  In the past, marriage was arranged for the families prestige, economic benefits and political advantage th  18 century England  rise of liberalism and individualism – freedom of individual over community  Early 20 century  Hollywood and advertising industry promoted self-gratification; heterosexual romance leading to marriage.  Study of 1000 university undergraduates in 10 countries, asking “If a person had all the qualities you desired, but you didn’t love them, would you marry them?”  free-choice cultures would typically say no, because love is essential for marriage. Eg. U.S. Social influences onMate Selection  21 century mate selection happens online  online dating sites started in 1996 and by 2009 15% of people found their mate on the internet and 30% visited the sites.  Online dating sites have been specialized for religion, race, hobbies, lifestyles, etc.  social forces still create boundaries  3 sets of social forces influenceour partner for marriage: o 1. Resources – financial assets, status, values, tastes, knowledge  people want to maximize their finances and status, and wants similar tastes, values, and knowledge o 2. Third parties – those that prevent marriages: families, neighborhoods, communities, and religious institutions.  People are raised to identify with one group, and to think outsiders as different. Also, sanctions apply if one marries someone outside their group o 3. Demographic variables  chances to marry inside your group increase with the group’s size and concentration  ratio of men to women in a group  less men would mean marrying outside a group or not marrying at all  marriage markets’ - such as school, work, club, bars, etc. – social segregation  more likely to marry outside your group if markets are socially heterogeneous Marital Satisfaction  Martial stability also depends on having a happy marriage (NOT useful)  women became more autonomous and can leave if they are unhappy  Factors contributingto women’s autonomy: o 1. Legalization of birth control measures 1960s  o 2. Women’s increased presence in the paid labor force  able to support herself if she leaves o 3. 1960s laws governing divorce were changed to make divorce easier and divide property between divorcing spouses equally.  Divorce rate increased Social Roots ofMartial Satisfaction  1. Economic factors o those lower in socioeconomic status face financial pressures leading to unhappy marriages o those higher in the socioeconomic status, are often couples who are both in the paid labour force, increasing benefits and leading to a happy marriage. BUT if one works too much, less marital satisfaction  2. Divorce laws o married people are happier than unmarried people BUT our freedom to end unhappy marriages and remarry increases happiness, specifically in women who can end an unhappy marriage easily  3. Family life cycle o Divorce rate peaks at the fifth year of marriage  settling down, having kids o At 15-20 low point of marital satisfaction  children in teen years o Marital satisfaction rises when children enter adulthood and are highest when children have left home. OR non-parents also highest.  4. Division of labor in the household o sharing housework and child care equally  happier  5. Sexual relations o good sexual relations  happier o sex can lead to marriage  sexual compatibility  happier o marriage can lead to sex BUT can lead to sexual incompatibility  unhappy  6. Religion o more religious beliefs and practice  lower divorce rates Divorce  before 1968 – divorce was complex and rare and mainly based on adultery and sometimes cruelty  Canada’s Divorce Act of 1968 - expanded the grounds for granting divorce: mental or physical cruelty, rape, gross addiction to alcohol or other drugs, sodomy, bestiality, homosexual acts, and marital breakdown – couples live apart for a number of years. o 1965 amendment specified only one ground for divorce – martial breakdown defined in 3 ways:  1. Spouses live apart for one year  2. One of the spouses commit adultery  3. One spouse treats the other with mental or physical cruelty. o Divorce rate peaked in 1967 and then dropped  Today, you don’t need to prove why, the marriage is legally dissolved is the relationship is irretrievably broken  38% of Canadian marriages end in divorce Economic Effects  After divorce, women’s income declinesBUT men’s income increases o Women care for the children, child-support isn’t enough o While married, men learn to earn more o Single parents, specifically lone-mothers have low-income  Canadian laws of the division of martial assets and alimony during divorce favored men, thus women’s living conditions declined.  Today, the laws of division of martial assets and alimony are fair, but there are inconsistencies across jurisdictions. o Valuable asset today, is the earning power – degrees, experience, high pay work, skilled  Women have given up her earning power to raise her children & let husband work  Child support – involves money paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the purpose of supporting the children of a separated marital, cohabiting, or sexual relationship o Mostly fathers pay, since mothers who likely care for the children need more help o All jurisdictions in Canada require child support, but it’s difficult to enforce even with programs that protect agains
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