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SOC103H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter all: Nuclear Family, Neoconservatism, Moral Panic

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Does “The Family” Exist?
Despite the growing family diversity in Canada, the nuclear family structure remains
fixed in our collective imagination as the most desired family form
Everything is impacted by our nuclear family assumption
Canadian family diversity is often read as family decline
Situating the ‘Traditional’ Family
Many of Canada’s “new” family forms have always existed, but done so in the
Male breadwinner model: separated home and work along gender lines, and a restructuring of
many households to include only the husband, wife, and their biological children (coincided with
Moral panic occurred due to:
o Rising divorce rates
o Falling fertility rates
o Aggregate number of middle-class women in the paid workforce
The media and professionals did much to reinforce the idea that women’s proper
place with in the home
1950s have been discursively constructed as the golden era of the traditional family
o Often families suffered in silence because airing dirty laundry was considered
Legacy of Privileging the Nuclear Family
Neo-conservative narratives bemoaning family decline have infused Canadian politics
o The rhetoric of strengthening nuclear families and the traditional values of
marriage was the foundation of the Family Coalition Party’s platform in 2007
Idealizing the traditional family reinforces the fallacy that families operate as
independent, self-contained units that satisfy the needs of their members
o Evidence is contrary
Marriage does not guarantee stability
Paid work by both parents is a necessity
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