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SOCY 305, 2 weeks of notes

by: Julia Lensch

SOCY 305, 2 weeks of notes SOCY 305 001

Julia Lensch
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These notes cover the first two weeks of lectures.
Sociology of the Family
Jennifer M. Augustine
Class Notes




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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Julia Lensch on Friday January 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOCY 305 001 at University of South Carolina taught by Jennifer M. Augustine in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 59 views. For similar materials see Sociology of the Family in Sociology at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 01/29/16
What is a Family? Why Study the Family?  understand how they are formed, patterned, and affect individual lives  culture, economic, political, demographic (changes in population - gender, age, immigration), and history changes Social Phenomena  Power and Agency --> difference in gender dynamics, view myself as mother now vs. how it was constructed a long time ago  Social Meaning and Identity  Sequencing and Life Course (school --> work --> kids) (not everyone has same outcome)  Economic Mobility and Stratification --> our families teach us right from wrong, but also launch us into social structure (makes sense for reproduction of same social structure)  We define families by its structure: o People that comprise it o "Nuclear Family" o Multigenerational Households According to Census  Family is 2 or more people living together and related by blood, marriage, or adoption  Two elements: co-residence and relation amongst family members based on criteria above  Family is a social institution that shapes society --> organizes us and fulfills important functions Structural Functionalism - society is comprised of different systems to maintain the human body  They all must be performed to survive o education --> prepares us o religion --> morals Are families universal? Are they in all societies? Do they have universal functions? Murdoch's 1945 book, Social Structure  Analyzed over 250 different societies  Universal feature --> nuclear structure o Residence o Economic cooperation o Reproduction (raising kids) o Sexual relations o Socialization Why might it be problematic?  It doesn't allow for changes in meaning of family across time and different societies  Limits family to certain time  Ideologically --> its exclusionary and captures the ideal, but casts deviant families that might do some in different ways, but not universally. Excludes relationships that might not meet all criteria  Does not reflect universal of family Social Constructionism (Last night's reading)  Residence --> boarding school, deployed partner, traveling salesman  Reproduction --> many choosing not to have kids  Sexual Relations --> do not have to be in a committed relationship  Socialization --> no one better than family unit to teach socialization, but it does occur outside family unit Social Constructionism (not the reading)  Opposing theoretical perspective to structural functionalism  Based on idea that people create meaning through interactions  Thus, family is constituted by meaning of interpretation between people  Interpretative meaning; if people view it as "family" then it represents family Family Meet Criteria:  Connected by blood, marriage, or adoption  Or sexually expressive relationship with social roles that create an institution A Brief History of the U.S. Family  Our understanding of trends among today's family and the forces driving such trends much be connected to an understanding of the changing social, economic, and cultural conditions out of which these trends emerged (ex. delayed marriage, intensive motherhood) Early America: Colonial Era (17th-18th century)  14% Native Americans  16% Blacks  Remaining were compromised by white colonists and immigrants Economic Foundations  "Root of social changes in family"  White Colonial Family (father is figurehead --> patriarchal) o Family is economic unit of production o Economy hinged on what families could produce o Gendered division of labor o Men and women worked together at home o Children worked o Agriculture based o Self-employed o Marriage --> economic relationship o No modern childhood  African American Family (mother is figurehead --> matriarchal) o Uprooted from family traditions o Legal marriage prohibited o Families often separated due to slavery o Less patriarchal and more matriarchal o Fictive kin --> people not related to, but considered part of your family The Industrial Era (19th-20th century)  New technology brought about --> factory system  Railway system --> distribute goods  Increased cost of goods  Modern day baking and continued investment  Men worked outside home (employees)  Worked for wages, employed  Separation of family and work  Family no longer an economic unit  Families became economically mobile  Families got smaller and more compact  Rise of "nuclear family" (mother, father, children)  Women worked at home  Community schooling for children  Breadwinner family Demographic Transition (late 1800s to early 1900s)  Population boom due to: o 1. Longer mortality rates/technology o 2. Lower infant mortality  medical  sanitation  Fertility (birth) rates go down and thus families get smaller o Cost of raising kids increases  Marriage changed to a compassionate marriage (a partnership/economic cooperation where the husband specialized in labor and the wife in work) o Men paid more o Women better at doing household chores o Living longer with that person Social Occurences/Change  The Great Depression of 1930s o Millions unemployed for at least 3 years o Families --> homeless o Delayed marriage o Postponed having kids o Challenged male breadwinner role  World War II o Men went off to war o Women took over men's factory jobs  After War o Men returned from war o Women retreated back home o Economy was booming 1950s Family  Marriage rates increased  Age at marriage decreased  Divorce decreased  Baby boom  Breadwinner/homemaker models increased  Education divide between men and women increased (gender inequality)  Suburbanization 1960s and 1970s  Greater equality in family life o Feminist Movement  Female workers, pursuing education, gender equality at home, equal share of division of labor at home o Civil Rights Movement  Blacks pursue right to same educational opportunities Major Trends (Service Economy)  Rise in service economy and decline of manufacturing (middle class) as well as wages decreased  Residential segregation and more subtle forms of discrimination (particularly black families)  No fault divorce legalized o Rise in single parenthood Second Demographic Transition  Rising age at first marriage  Delayed fertility  Reduced fertility  Higher nonmarital fertility and nonmarriage, especially among certain race/ethnic and socioeconomic groups  Spike in divorce in 1970s  Greater family inequality  New unions (cohabitation, living together)  Decoupling of sex and childbearing from martial union Family in Decline  Family is changing from the 1950s nuclear family o Mom stayed at home o Dad went to work o Mom and Dad were married  This was occurring within all socioeconomic groups (middle class and poor)  End of line family dissolution o Occurring at most basic unit  Domestic groups are weakening in carrying out their functions" o Economic o Socialize (morality) o Reproduction o Provide care  Has also lost its: o Social power o Authority over members (parents don't have control over who you marry) o Child centeredness we reconceived what is best for our children; women can go to work; we don't have to have kids)  Fundamental challenges to forms, ideals, and role expectations of the family unit  Don Quayle's comments against Murphy Brown  What is a Family? o Popenoe's definition: 2 folks where one is dependent on the other with a small group of kin (one adult and one dependent person at least) 1. Fewer people are marrying a. By 1970, 70% of households were headed by married couples b. By 2000, only 53% c. Marriage isn't as important 2. Retreat from marriage/delayed marriage a. Women are getting married at older ages to late twenties (this also applies for men) 3. More single parent families due to: a. Divorce (began to be divorce mainly instead of death in 1974) b. Nonmarital childbearing c. No fault divorce was legal in 1970s 4. Lower fertility rates (fewer children being born) a. Drop in family size b. 1950s --> fertility rates at highest c. Taking care of kids is an investment of our time and money --> we'd rather invest in ourselves d. Less childcentered Increase in nonmarital fertility  Nowadays, almost half of all births are outside of marriage 5. Alternative unions, a.k.a. cohabitation (living together in a romantic nonmarital union) a. Gender roles are less clear b. Its on the rise c. Not a stable union type d. Weaker ties e. Less stable and more likely to dissolve f. Marriage doesn't have a strong hold on a romantic union g. Norms are different (no expectation for kids) 6. More People are living alone a. People are choosing not to marry and remain single 7. Decline in breadwinner model and women are going to work a. Women with children under age 5 are working b. Married women Causes (decline in family):  Ideological change - we marry for happiness instead of economic support)  Economic change - certain things are more acceptable today  Attitude change - change in our ideals/views of say gay marriage, cohabitation, single mothers having kids; transmitted intergenerationally Economics changed after the 1950s, we shifted from manufacturing economy to a service economy (world of work, educational opportunity to women). Women's wages increased while men's decreased. Women were pleased and men were unhappy; weakens foundation of marriage. Socioeconomic --> income and education; where you fall within socioeconomic hierarchy Why Should We Be Concerned?  Potential repercussions for the well-being of kids' emotional/physical health, cognitively developing, financially healthy: o Education o Psychological o Social Outcomes (reproduction of family structures across generations) o Antisocial behavior, criminal behavior, teen pregnancy o Crime o Increase in individualism (less on family) o Safety nets (no programs or resources for people who have fallen on hard times)  Well-being of adults  Sign that families are changing and growing more diverse  Are families declining or just changing and growing more diverse (a sign of social progress with individuality) Critical Perspective on Family and Family Change: The Role of Race Race: African American Family  Key features that characterize black families in U.S. history: o Marriage o Fertility patterns o Kinship patterns Increase in nonmarital fertility, single parent households among black families The problem --> poverty Moynihan Report: around Civil Rights Movement, Moynihan was concerned about equality, being single with kids --> poor, socialization (we need a strong foundation or else kids will be socialized in a way that leads to:  Social connectedness  Isolation  Delinquency  Education  Crime  Cognitive development "Tangle of pathology" --> taken a life of their own separate from what raised them Why do we see these patterns? -History --> legacy of slavery thesis: 1. Legacy of non-marriage 2. Legacy of matriarchal families 3. Black women's mobility outplaced men -Culture of Poverty -> there is a culture within a poor community where childbearing norms are weak -Economic Perspectives (structural)  Marriageable men hypothesis o Similar education levels as you o Stability --> jobs --> money o Mental health o Attitude o Self-efficacy o Trustworthiness o Likelihood of abusing drugs -Black men and women who marry have similar levels of education -For black women, the benefits of marrying (money, education) black males is weaker -Sex Imbalance  Interracial Marriage/Assortative Mating o Intermarriage rate for black men measured by 2008 census --> 22% o Comparatively, it was 9% for black women  Incarceration o About 16-18% of black men have served time in prison vs. 2% of white men; this gap has increased but always existed  Higher among lower SES groups -"Super Organization" perspective  Too much emphasis on family structure  Kin structure more like black families than white families --> widespread unit, beyond nuclear family to include neighbors, friends, "fictive kin"  Creates structure of support and trust  Refutes disorganized perspective  Too much emphasis on black-white differences in family structure  Instead emphasizes resiliency of black families  Evidence: rich kin networks - were a functional response to constraints placed on black families


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