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Chapter 11

SOC103 Starting Points Chapter 11

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University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

Chapter 11 – Families and Socialization - Family is any social unit, or set of social relations, that does what families are popularly imagined to do o Teach children the rules for living in human society (social rules) o Highly variable in present-day Canada  Nuclear family living  Extended family  Cohabiting family  Single-parent family  Same-sex couple o Entitled to the same rights and respect as the traditional family - We need to judge the satisfactoriness of families not by their forms, but by their processes o The ways they do their family business o The growth of diversity among families o The different social processes in families of different types o The different levels of adaptability and cohesiveness o The different kinds of parenting o The way children are socialized makes a difference to children, families, and society - Varies in composition (number, gender, ages) and patterns of interaction (each member’s behaviour towards the others) o Primary unit of society o Agents of socialization o In present-day society, norms about what constitutes a family are changing quickly and seem much more open to personal interpretation  Polygamy  In some countries, polygamy is common  In Canada, monogamy has been the norm o Canada supports multiculturalism, but considers polygamy sexist and exploitative o This seems contradictory  Divorce  In some countries, divorce is highly discouraged  In Canada, divorce is common, legal, and understandable  Family size  Today, most people have children in their 30s and tend to have fewer children  One century ago, families needed many children to till the fields or earn incomes Ways of looking at FAMILY LIFE - Functionalism o Focus on universal truths about family life  Family as a central institution in society  Changes in the family mirror changes in the larger society o Modern industrial family life  Requires more specialization and coordination  Accomplishes several important functions  Regulation of sexual behaviour and reproduction  Provision of physical (food, shelter) and psychological (nurturing, learning) needs of its members  Socialization of children o Talcott Parsons and Robert Bales  division of labour in families  Husband performs the role of breadwinner, decision-maker, and source of authority and leadership  Wife performs the role of homemaker, nurturer, and emotional centre  However, the roles of the husband and wife have changed so much  Specialization may no longer be possible or useful o Ronald Immerman and Wade Mackey  almost all marriage systems across the world support monogamy  Reduces the number of sexual partners  Limits the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases  Reduces out-of-wedlock births, infant morbidity, violent crime, and lower educational attainment  Functions better than polygamous societies  Increases the survival capacity of society and its members o Linda Waite  cohabitation is inferior to traditional marriage  Cohabitation  Less permanent  Fails to provide the economic and psychological benefits of marriage  Less likely to draw support from extended families  Provides less support to children and spouses during crisis  Traditional marriage  Increases the survival capacity of society and its members - Critical theories o Focus on political and economic changes in society to explain changes in family life o With industrialization, families moved from being self-sustaining productive units (farming households) to consumption units (dual-income households)  Dependent on outside sources of income to meet their survival needs  Men sold their labour power in exchange for an income  Women gained exclusive control over the task of social reproduction (becoming responsible for children rearing, food preparation, provision of emotional support) without financial remuneration o Exploitive capitalism increased gender inequality and gender differentiation  Dependence turns into subordination  Capitalist economy affirm gender differentiation by giving men preferential access within the labour market  Men depend on capitalists for a living wage  Women depend on men - Symbolic interactionism o Focus on the ways members of a family interact with one another and the ways they resolve conflicts o Social constructionism  Focus on the development and use of family ideologies (family values) promoted by right-wing religious leaders and conservative politicians in the US  Politicians channel hostility towards single mothers, gays and lesbians, and divorced people  Social constructionists channel hostility towards people who are most in need of support o Channel money away from child care, health care, or education o Channel money into policing and imprisonment  Minorities are accused of failing to lead moral family lives or instill family values in their children  Traditional ideologies are used to hurt vulnerable families in order to preserve family life Ways of looking at SOCIALIZATION - Functionalism o Socialization normally occurs from top-down (children internalize social norms and learn to conform to the roles and expectations of society)  Creates social conformity and consensus  Produces social integration (an outcome of internalized behavioural expectations) o Criticism  People are not completely shaped by the norms and expectations of society  Over-socialized view of human nature  Assumes that gender differences, thus gender inequalities, are natural and inevitable  E.g., functionalists argue that women receive lower incomes in the job market because they hold lower-paying jobs, and they hold lower-paying jobs because they were socialized as women to seek such lower-paying jobs o On the contrary, feminists argue that women are socialized in the same way as men but will still face structural barriers if she pursues a male-dominated career o Thus, gendered socialization is not the only factor in gender inequality  Adorno  top-down socialization might produce conformity and conventionality, but it also produces anger, superstition, prejudice, racism, and homophobia  Fails to address that most socialization is from the bottom-up (children teach themselves and one another)  Peer socialization is important as parent socialization - Social interactionism o Cooley and Mead  people participate in their own socialization through social interaction  Both interested in how a child develops a sense of self and the role of the family in that development  Cooley believes children have the capacity for self-development, which is achieved through social interaction  Even though parents socialize the child through language, punishment, and other means (top-down), the child sees and evaluates himself according to how others see him (bottom-up)  Looking-glass self is one’s self-evaluation based on how others him- or herself o We imagine how we appear to others and react to this with pride or embarrassment o We adjust ourselves to the outside world o We change our behaviour to increase our pride and decrease our embarrassment  Mead believes the self-concept is made up of two components (the I and the Me)  The I is the self that is spontaneous, creative, and unique  The Me is the self that is developed for social purposes, by internalizing societal norms and values  Child’s play in the public playground is central to successful socialization o Offers children an opportunity to practice socially learned roles and expectations o Children develop a concept of the generalized other (an individual’s notion of the attitudes and expectations of society at large) through play and early interaction o Children develop a self-concept Classic studies: World Revolution and Family Patterns (1963) - William Goode th o Reviews changes in family organization around the world in the 20 century o Examines the relationship between changing family patterns and industrialization o The influence of industry on family life  Family patterns everywhere are moving towards the nuclear family model  Nuclear family is a group that usually consists of a father, a mother, and their children living in the same dwelling, in which there are no more than three relationships (between spouses, between parents and children, and between siblings)  Encourage smaller, more flexible family units, which are more flexible to meet industrial changes  The family unit is smaller because it is a self-sustaining unit of production and consumption  The family size is smaller because of the increased use of contraception and decreased birth rate  Role relations within families have changed  Individual family members have more freedom  Parental authority over children has declined  Women’s rights have increased  Husband’s control over wives has decreased  Dowries and bride payments are disappearing  Increased acceptance of changed social morals and virtues  Greater acceptance of divorce, contraception, abortion, cohabitation, and premarital sex o Family demands (housework, child care) act as barriers to a complete takeover of family life by work  Family systems resist change, but changes are inevitable given the demands of industrialization  Change toward a nuclear family form does not occur at the same rate throughout the world  Nuclear families have occurred before industrialization  Extended families have persisted despite industrialization  Extended family is multiple generations of relatives living together, in which there are more than three kinds of relationships present o Predicted the structure of Canadian families has been increasingly diverse  Traditional nuclear families are still the norm  The married-couple families have decreased (83%  69%)  The number of cohabiting, single-parent, and same-sex families has increased o Predicted the decline in marriage rates (61%  48%) in Canada  The number of unmarried people is greater than the number of married people  The increase in unmarried (never married, divorced, separated, or widowed) people (39%  52%) o Predicted the change in the recognition of same-sex married couples  0.6% of all couples are same-sex couples  16.5% married o Most same-sex married couples are men  83.5% cohabiting  16.3% lesbians live with children  2.9% gays live with children  50% live in Canada’s three largest metropolitan areas (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver) o Predicted the increase in single-parent families (11%  16%) and cohabiting couples (6%  15%) in Canada o Predicted the increased rate of relationship dissolution (including divorce) in Canada and other developing countries  Reflects the increased prevalence of cohabitation  Cohabiting couples are more likely to break up than married couples, especially for people under 30  Cohabitating couples (4 years) last for a shorter time than married couples (14 years)  Note that cohabiting breakups are not documented as frequently as separations and divorces - The idea of family o The family changes described above is evidence that people are turning away from the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood, but public opinion polls find that family life is still important to Canadians  Most Canadians still consider getting married and having children important goals of their lives  Most people still think of the nuclear family as ideal  Most people desire the stability of traditional families and the flexibility of non-traditional families o Functionalism  Consider the family to be a social institution with one preferred structure that meets the largest number of social requirements  Focus on the legal obligations of family members  Focus on family structures that would contribute to the survival of society  Reproducing the population  Socializing the younger generation  Supporting the work force  Providing for the family’s practical and financial needs  Ignores the fact that a variety of family forms can satisfy the need for love, attachment, and understanding  E.g., the role of cohabiting relationships or non-nuclear families o Extended families are common among newly arrived immigrants to Canada, but then most separate into nuclear families o Modified extended family is when members of an extended family no longer share a household but live close by and rely heavily on one another o Census family is a new definition of family by Statistics Canada  Two spouses (opposite or same-sex, married or cohabiting) with or without never-married children  Single parent with never-married children  Children living with grandparents with no parents present o We assume that social units that meet the formal or structural requirements of families behave like families  Many units that meet the structural definition do not behave like ideal families  Many units that behave like ideal families do not meet the structural definition o Features of families  Socialization  Dependency and intimacy  Emphasize attachment and interdependency  Include long-term commitments between individual members and to the family as a social unit  However, many families lack attachments and commitments, so interdependency is limited  Sexuality  Adult partners have a long-term and exclusive sexual relationship  Sexual relations are socially allowed between certain spouses  Sexual relations are abusive between other members  Protection  Guard members from all kinds of internal and external dangers  Parents protect children from accidents, household dangers, drugs, alcohol, and predators  Spouses protect one another  Adult children protect and help their parents  However, some members fail to protect each other, or even neglect, exploit, abuse  Power  More powerful members protect less powerful members  Dominant males control the family because they own and control more resources  Violence  Violence has increased in the last few decades  Usually male spouse or boyfriend assaults his partner - Socialization o Socialization is the lifelong social learning a person undergoes to become a capable member of society, through social interaction with others, and in response to social pressures  One universal feature of family life  Starts at birth and continues throughout our lives o Primary socialization is learning that takes place in the early years of a person’s life that is crucial to the formation of an individual’s personality and the course of development  During childhood and adolescence  Takes place in the context of the family home  Parents are the first people to sociall
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