Textbook Notes (368,432)
Canada (161,877)
Sociology (220)
SY101 (172)
Chapter

13 - Families

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Department
Sociology
Course
SY101
Professor
Dr.Christie
Semester
Fall

Description
MARRIAGES AND FAMILIES IN A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Defining Families - “ideal” family arrangements – the traditional family of a married man and woman with at least one biological child - 84% Canadians live in some kind of census family - The numbers of non-traditional forms of families are growing most rapidly - No clear standard for the family - Men are expected to have more than one wife – polygyny - Women have more than one husband – polyandry - To say that the family is the unit in which children are disciplined and their parents are responsible for their material needs is not universally true - Even sexual relationships don’t universally characterize a husband and wife Common Cultural Themes NORMS OF MATE SELECTION - Endogamy – people should marry within their own group - Exogamy – people must marry outside their group - Even when informal these norms are powerful - In N.A., most people marry within their social class and racial groups BECKONING PATTERNS OF DESCENT - System of descent – the way people trace kinship over generations - Bilateral – related to both our mother’s and our father’s side of the family (logical and natural) - Only one logical way to reckon descent - Patrilineal – descent is traced only on the father’s side, and children are not considered to be related to their mother’s relatives - Matrilineal – descent is figured only on the mother’s side, and children are not considered to be related to their father’s relatives RIGHTS OF INHERITANCE - Marriage and family are also used to compute rights of inheritance - Bilateral system – property is passed to both males and females - Patrilineal system – only to males - Matrilineal – only to females PATTERNS OF AUTHORITY - Patriarchy – social system in which men dominate women - Our marriage and family customs developed within a framework of patriarchy - The typical bride still takes the groom’s last name - Children given the father’s last name Definition of “the Family”: The Problem of Monolithic Bias - SOCIOLOGISTS: - Family – two or more people who consider themselves related by blood, marriage, or adoption - Household – may or may not be a family since it is defined as consisting of all people who occupy the same housing unit o Nuclear – husband, wife, and children o Extended – people such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins - Family of orientation – the family in which an individual grows up - Family of procreation – the family formed when a couple have their first child - Marriage can be viewed as a group’s approved mating arrangements - Sociologists have explicitly rejected any approach to “the family” as a monolithic structure - Margrit Eichler – the popular definition of the nuclear family appears to support a very limited view of family life o We don’t include gay couples, stepchildren, adopted children - The monolithic bias not only lends itself to a very incomplete approach, but also tends to support a conservative bias o Implies that the “normal” and “natural” family is the one composed of two heterosexual adults who reside with and raise their biological children - The conservative bias is particularly evident in the structural-functionalist theoretical perspective on family life MARRIAGE AND FAMILY IN THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE The Functionalist Perspective: Functions and Dysfunctions IS THE FAMILY UNIVERSAL? - Functionalists: families are universal because they fulfill six needs basic to every society’s well- being - Many groups that consider themselves “families” do not in fact fulfill all or even most of these “basic needs” (Eichler) - Any enumeration of “universal needs or functions” fulfilled by families should be understood only as a useful analytic tool, not as an accurate or complete description of familial realities and not as a foundation for social policies CONNECTING TO OTHER PARTS OF SOCIETY - Functionalists: family is not an isolated unit, but is vitally connected to other parts of society - They note that industrialization and urbanization made the family more fragile - From the functionalist perspective, increased divorce does not represent “incompatible personalities” or personal conflicts o Rather changes in other parts of society impact our most intimate relationships ISOLATION AND EMOTIONAL OVERLOAD - Extended families in traditional societies – enmeshed in kinship networks, - Members of nuclear families can count on fewer people for material and emotional support o Nuclear families vulnerable to “emotional overload” The Conflict Perspective: Gender, Conflict, and Power - Central to conflict theory is struggle over scarce resources - Struggle of who does housework is an example THE POWER STRUGGLE OVER HOUSEWORK - Housework and childcare was unpaid and had devastating implications in women’s lives - Few families can afford a full-time parent in the home - Women still are taking the lion’s share - Canadian couples are spending less time of household work - Canadian women are w
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