Starting Points Chapter 11 Notes
* Learn to distinguish between good and bad parenting, and see how parenting
influences a child’s characteristics
* Find out how families cope differently with opportunities and crises
* See how families reproduce gender, race, ethnicity and class identities
* Come to understand the different forms families can take and the ways ‘family life’
has changed overtime
* family you came from is likely different from other families that you know.
> This is because families are highly variable
> More variable today in the past
* All of families and the people in them have the same rights and are entitled to the same
respect as the traditional family
*Chapter is about the growth of diversity among families, and the different social processes
we see in families of different types
> how families have different level of adaptability and cohesiveness
> some are strict, some are loose
* We will also discuss different kinds of parenting, ranging from authoritarian through
> the way children are socialised makes a great deal of difference - society as a whole * Families can be different in their composition
> The number, gender, and ages of their parents and children in them
> in their patterns of interaction (each members behaviour towards others)
* In present day society, norms about what constitutes a ‘family’ are changing quickly and
seem much more open to persona; interpretation than ever before.
> polygamy is an example
> divorce (some countries does a lot, some countries does not)
* Families remain important in out society as agents of socialisation.
* As social norms change, so do the ways we socialise our children
> social norms are more complex and confusing than ever before.
Ways of looking at ,,, Family Life
* Sociologists approach the study of families from different perspectives.
> Functionalists view the family as a central institution in society
> They see the family as a microcosm of society, with individual family members coming
together in a unified and productive whole ( Lehmann, 1994)
> They expect changes in the family to mirror changes in the larger society.
* In modern industrial societies, family life is more complicated, requiring more
specialisation and coordination.
> socialisation - the manufacture of new citizens is like any other manufacturing process in
its complexity. * Talcott Parsons and Robert Bales’s functionalist analysis (1955) views the family division
of labour as the key to success.
> Husband performs an instrumental role as the breadwinner, decision maker, and source
> Wife fulfils an role as homemaker, nurturer, and emotional centre of the family.
> This is changing from 1950s, both working
* Some sociologists have revisited the questions of whether certain family forms are
‘natural’ or ‘inevitable’
> Psychiatrists Ronald Immerman and Wade Mackey (1999) argue that almost all marriage
systems across the world support monogamy.
> They reduce the number os sexual partners people have
> As a result, monogamous societies tend to function better than communities that do not
maintain pair bonding, so monogamy is functional in the sense it increases the survival
capacity of the community.
* Other present day functionalist argue that cohabitation is inferior to traditional marriage.
> Linda Waite (2000) argues that cohabiting relationships are often less permanent, fail to
provide the economic and psychological benefits that marriage offers to both participants
are less likely to draw support from extended families, and provide less support to children.
* Critical theorists do not look for universal truth about family life, nor do they suppose
certain forms fulfil social functions better than others.
> They take a historical approach and focus on political and economic changes in society
to explain changes in family life.
* With industrialisation, families moved from being self-sustaining productive units to
consumption units. > dependent on outside sources
* Gender inequality increased with gender differentiation, and both increased under
conditions of exploitive capitalism.
* Feminist theorists argue that, just as factory workers depend on capitalists for a living
wage, wives depend on their husbands.
> As a result women have endured not only economic reliance on men, but also political
and social inferiority.
* These patriarchal tendencies are most common in traditionalist religions, whether within
industrial or pre-industrial societies.
> orthodox Jewish religious communities expect women to get married and start families
young, since their designated role in life is that of house workers.
> lead to low education
* Focus on the micro level of sociological phenomena.
> study the ways members of a family interact with one another and the ways they resolve
conflicts within the boundaries of their roles in the family.
* social constructionists focus on the development and use of family ideologies such as the
‘family values’ promoted by right wing religious leaders in the US.
> hostility against such groups as single mothers, gays and lesbians.
> The effect of such social constructions is to channel hostility away from exploitive
employers and unresponsive governments, towards people who are most in need of
support and understanding.
* These political initiatives undermine the welfare of minorities > minorities that are accused of failing to lead moral family lives or install family values in
their children. (McMullin 2004)
* Thus, traditional ideologies are used to hurt vulnerable families, under the guise of helping
to preserve family life.
Ways of looking at… Socialisation
* 2 main views of how the socialisation of children occurs
> 1, associated with functionalist perspective
> 2, symbolic interactionist perspective
* Functionalist assert that socialisation normally occurs from the top-down, as children
internalise social norms and learn to conform to the roles and expectations of society.
*Socialist Talcott Parsons described this internalisation process most prominently in family,
socialisation, and Interaction process. (1955)
> This approach, the more throughly members of society accept these norms and values,
the more smoothly society will function.
> "Social integration"
* This functional approach has faced various criticisms.
> some denied that people are completely shaped by the norms and expectations of their
> To think socialisation is so complete and through is to hold an ‘over socialised’ view of
human nature, according to Dennis Wrong.(1961)
* Feminists criticised the functionalist perspective on socialisation, since it seems to
assume that the differences between men and women, as agents if socialisation and
objects of socialisation are natural and inevitable. > Gendered socialisation is not the only factor at play in the inequality faced by women.
* Adorno and his collaborators (1950) show that strict, top down socialisation may indeed
work well to produce conformity and conventionality.
* Functional theory is deficient on other grounds.
> Fails to address the evidence that a great deal of socialisation is from the bottom up
* They symbolic interactionist approach is now the most accepted view of socialisation in
> Launched by sociologists Charles H Cooley and George Herbert Mead
> This approach notes that people participate in their own socialisation, through social
* Cooley believes children have capacity for sell-development through social interaction.
> “looking glass self”
> We imagine how we appear to others and react to this with pride or
embarrassment. (Cooley, 1902)
* Mead (1934) believed the self-concept was made up of two components; I and the Me.
> the “I” is one’s spontaneous, creative, and unique self
> Me is the self one develops for social purposes, by internalising social norms and values.
> I is that part of your self that wants to sing, the Me is that socially conscious component
that makes you conform to public expectations in public settings.
* Family Life and the socialisation it provides are both deeply important for human
> although some would like to believe in universal and invariant patterns, both families and
socialisation have changed dramatically in the past century. Classic Studies World revolution and family patterns
* by William Goode(1963), review changes to family organisation around the world in the
first half of the twentieth century.
> Especially examines the relationship between chaining family patterns and
* Draws attention to several major cross cultural trends
1, family patterns everywhere are moving towards the nuclear family model.
> smaller family units
> parents power over children decreased
> husbands power over wife decreased
> more freedom
> greater accept