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Chapter 1

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Sociology 2235
Paul Whitehead

(Ambert) Family Chapter 1 Family most basic institution of any society Socialization: process where children learn how to think/behave according to ways society/group in which theyre born/raised (not passive, they respond according to their personalities/needs/experiences) transmission of culture o Socialization reconstructs gender, racial, economic structure + roles Institution: recognized areas of social life that are organized along system of accepted norms that regulate behaviors (organizations/norms) contribute to predictability (shared culture) o Change is a part of every institution despite changes, institution itself remains while its functions evolve/multiply o In definition some want to remove the institutional aspect of family and replace with close/sexual intimate relations no matter how temporary emphasis on voluntariness chosen relational aspects Stats Canada definition 2002: family is couple of any sexual combo with or without children, married or cohabiting as well as a lone parent of any marital status with at least one child living in the same dwelling, or a grandparent raising a grandchild o A family is a social group, institution and an intergenerational group of individuals related to one another by blood, adoption or marriage/cohabitation minimum to meet definition of nuclear is combo of two generations in one household o Necessary for care of young/helpless and survival of species despite monogamy Single people living together thought they constitute household unit, but not included in definition of famlysuch are members of their families of origin or procreatio past definitions didnt include unmarried mothers or same sex families o Family policy implications broad definitions i.e. friends being family problematic analytically (overlaps with social/support networks) if we broaden definition it may become useless (not have continuity) o Membership in a family is an ascribed status while friendships are acquired status ascription is one of the reasons family relations tend to be enduring but friendships change over time families are enduring i.e. if parents divorce each ex spouse is still A parent and his/her children or two parents with their children form the elementary type of family when person or couple has a child by birth, adoption or surrogacy; a nuclear family of procreation is formed what is important is that a new generation is added, not if the offspring is biologically related i.e. single man with adopted son, or grandparent taking care of grand child o Couples constitute a nuclear family upon arrival of their first child these couples are members of their own families or origin or orientation (they belong to/originate from their parents/parents families) o In situations of divorce, children may experience binuclear family i.e. half of their nuclear family is constituted by themselves and their mother and the other by themselves and their father o Horizontal nuclear family: when brothers/sisters share a household together without parents there is only one generation involved, but which originates from their parents Other relatives are extended family or kinship group i.e. aunts, in-laws, cousins Most people belong to both nuclear and extended families o Multi-generational households: extended families living together under one roof havent ever been a norm in Canada except in Aboriginals (the English/French arrived with tradition of nuclear) o Three-generational households have increased in Canada in the past two decades immigration and due to return of adult children with their own children home These extended families live in cities (48% contain one or two grandparents with a single parent and his/her kids) o Level of exchange between extended and nuclear depends on co- residence, proximity of neighborhood, emotional reasons (relations with extended optional in N. America except for Newfoundland/Labrador) Newly arrived families are kinship oriented (institutionalized, exact rules of behavior, reciprocity) compared to average Canadian born Fictive kinship: (Latin Americas compradazgo) when friend becomes relative Inuit groups extend kin system to kin of kin Types of Union and Marriage Two types legal in Canada = marriage/common law unions between one man and one woman or between two persons of same sex Polygamy types polygyny (man married to two or more women) and polyandry (woman married to two or more men) polygyny has resurfaced and is receiving attention but overall polygamy is a minority phenomenon even in countries where legal women likely to enter polygamous when with little education, rural, poverty o Polygamy rooted in agrarian society where men benefitted from having help of wives on land (wives/kids signs of wealth) o Sex ratio imbalance: arises where polygamy is practiced by a segment of the population when men have more than one wife, then not enough wives left so have to wait till theyre older or marry someone young i.e. as is done in Afghanistan/Yemen (9-14 years) o Polygamy practiced in rural area where agricultural activities many birth of many sons and co-wives have more space to establish separate residences with kids in patrilocal compound o Effects on children of polygamous marriages depends on cultural/socio-economic context in which they are i.e. cases in Asia cant be applied to Canaawhen move to Western cities, multiple wives cant have multiple homes so live togther hard to estimate how many polygamous in Canada due to recent immigration from African/Asian countries i.e. some immigrate as sisters of husband even though wife o When law of society i.e. Canada doesnt allow multiples, one wife may not be protected if not considered legal though the Ontario Family Law Act may provide spousal support/welfare (but many not aware of these) o Polygamous immigrant families face challenge adapting to new country, adapt to different legal family situation law/criminalization of wife abuse o Success of polygamy depends on sociocultural context in which family lives (plus fair treatment recivpolygamous (key indicator of social inequalities in societies throughout world) more problematic than monogamous Theoretical Perspectives Theory: set of interrelated propositions that explain particular phenomenon and guide research two or three theories combined provide thorough explanation of reality o Study of family ideal meeting point of theoretical perspectives because families are nexus of interactions informed by cultures/contexts families create culture via interactions and socializations of generations Structural functionalism: analyzes society organization, structure, linkages between various systems o Family important unit that fulfills key functions for society i.e. child socialization (structure provides cultural/organizational context that influences family life) o Organic analogy organism (society) system with many subsystems that function together o (Talcott Parsons) theory with assumptions of consensus or equilibrium inequalities perceived to be fulfilling necessary functions this framework insufficient for analyzing family developments i.e. changing role of women maternal employment threatened equilibrium) o Differentiation between gender linsinstrumental role (father as breadwinner, linking family to society) vs. expressive role (mother cares for kids, maintains relations, does housework) not sustainable with the return to paid employment for women and changes in gender ideologis instrumental tasks carried out by mothers under expressive realm didnt do justice to reality either o Social structural orientation: evident when inequalities between families discussed, similar to a political economy aproach family living conditions analyzed through political, economic, cultural arrangements of society rather than through individual deficits/merits (doesnt defend status quo, but suggests importance for change at global level) o Dysfunction: i.e. at individual level hyperactivity of child prevents kid from doing well at school/integrating with peers or dysfunctional family is one disorganized by conflict that unable to care for its member this perspective allows us to see labels due to marginalization (poverty/discrimination)
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