Published on February 19, 2008
Sociology: Your Compass for a New WorldFirst Canadian Brief EditionRobert J. Brym, John Lie, Adie Nelson: Sociology: Your Compass for a New World First Canadian Brief Edition Robert J. Brym, John Lie, Adie Nelson Chapter 11: Families What is Family?: What is Family? Family is a social unit of adults who are economically dependent, who have a sexual relationship, and who have children. Families are primary social structures at the centre of both individual and societal life. Family occurs in every culture, but its structure and function varies by its social and cultural contexts. The Traditional Nuclear Family: The Traditional Nuclear Family The traditional nuclear family is composed of a father-provider a mother-homemaker at least one child The Decline of the Traditional Nuclear Family: The Decline of the Traditional Nuclear Family Today, only a minority of Canadian adults live in traditional nuclear families. Many different family forms have proliferated in recent decades. The frequency of these forms varies by class, race, and sexual orientation. “Out of Families” (Family Types, 2001): “Out of Families” (Family Types, 2001) Family Types, 1901: Family Types, 1901 The Functionalist Theory of the Family I: The Functionalist Theory of the Family I According to functionalists, the nuclear family is the universal family form because it provides an ideal setting for sexual regulation economic cooperation reproduction socialization emotional support The Functionalist Theory of the Family II: The Functionalist Theory of the Family II In foraging societies, the band and not the nuclear unit is the main locus of socialization and economic functions. Gender relations are egalitarian. Although the traditional nuclear family became entrenched in Canada in the 1950s, it has been in decline since the 19th century. Marriage Rates, 1921-1996: Marriage Rates, 1921-1996 Marxism and Feminism: Marxism and Feminism Marxists stress how families operate to reproduce class inequality. Feminists stress how families operate to reproduce gender inequality. Mate Selection: Mate Selection Mate selection is influenced by marriage resources (the assets potential spouses bring to the marriage market) the influence of third parties demographic and compositional factors - group size - geographical concentration - sex ratio - heterogeneity of local marriage markets The Components of Love: The Components of Love Effects of Increased Female Labor Force Participation : Effects of Increased Female Labor Force Participation The entry of women into the paid labour force increased their power to leave unhappy marriages control whether and when they would have children It did not, however, have a big effect on the sexual division of labour within families. Marital Satisfaction: Marital Satisfaction Marital satisfaction is lower at the bottom of the class structure where divorce laws are strict when children reach their teenage years in families where housework is not shared equally among couples who do not have a good sexual relationship Effects of Divorce I: Effects of Divorce I Common effects of divorce include a rise in the husband’s income and a decline in the wife’s the development of behavioral problems among the children of the divorcing couple Poverty Rates among Canadian Families 1980, 1989, and 1997: Poverty Rates among Canadian Families 1980, 1989, and 1997 Effects of Divorce II: Effects of Divorce II Most of the emotional distress experienced by the children of the divorcing couple is due to a high level of parental conflict a decline in living standards the absence of a parent Absence of parental conflict and stable living standards can eliminate most of the emotional distress experienced by the children of the divorcing couple. Reproductive Choice: Reproductive Choice The power women gained from working in the paid labor force put them in a position to exert more control over their reproductive functions through Contraception and abortion Reproductive technologies, including - artificial insemination - surrogate motherhood - in vitro fertilization - screening techniques Housework and Wife Abuse: Housework and Wife Abuse Men now take a more active role in the day-to-day running of the household, but the change is modest, with Canadian men now doing 20-35% of housework and childcare. Spouses will share domestic labour more evenly when their individual incomes are relatively equal and when they agree that domestic labour should be shared evenly between them. Gender equality also lowers the rate of wife abuse. Hours per Week Devoted to Child Care, Men and Women Living Together with Children under Age 6 by Employment Status, 1995: Hours per Week Devoted to Child Care, Men and Women Living Together with Children under Age 6 by Employment Status, 1995 Hours per Week Devoted to Unpaid Housework, Men and Women Living Together with Children under Age 15, 1996: Hours per Week Devoted to Unpaid Housework, Men and Women Living Together with Children under Age 15, 1996 Aboriginal Women in Common-law Relationships Have Highest Rates of Spousal Homicide: Aboriginal Women in Common-law Relationships Have Highest Rates of Spousal Homicide Sexual Orientation and Family Diversity: Sexual Orientation and Family Diversity In many places, the legal and social definition of “family” is being broadened to include cohabiting and same-sex partners. Decline of Two-Parent Native Canadian Families: Decline of Two-Parent Native Canadian Families Two-parent families are less common in Native Canadian communities due to high unemployment among men higher death rates of males compared to females higher rates of wife abuse, violence (legacy of residential school programs) Family Policy: Family Policy People sometimes blame the decline of the traditional nuclear family for increasing poverty welfare dependence crime However, some countries, such as Sweden, have adopted family support programs that largely prevent these problems.