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SOCY 305 Notes (2/9/16-2/11/16)

by: Julia Lensch

SOCY 305 Notes (2/9/16-2/11/16) SOCY 305 001

Marketplace > University of South Carolina > Sociology > SOCY 305 001 > SOCY 305 Notes 2 9 16 2 11 16
Julia Lensch

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These notes cover the lectures from days 2/9/16 and 2/11/16. Enjoy!
Sociology of the Family
Jennifer M. Augustine
Class Notes
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Julia Lensch on Saturday February 13, 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 12 views. For similar materials see Sociology of the Family in Sociology at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 02/13/16
Family Structure and Formation: Marriage  We've seen lower rates of marriage and higher rates of other commitments  Biggest shift in non-family households  Retreating from marriage and remaining single Why do we see this trend?  People are retreating from marriage  Delay from marriage formation (getting married at older ages)  Non-marriage and divorce  Delay from child-bearing  People are pursuing education (higher education) and eventually get a job o Rise in women's education and participation in labor force  Women are having children at older ages  Fewer having children at younger ages  Women are well into their 30s when this occurs Why else might we see delays?  Delay getting married so you can try out different fits (live with them first)  Personal development (feel emotionally ready)  Need financial stability before getting married (having a wedding) Why aren't YOU married?  Ages 18-24 => 33% said they are too young/not ready to settle down  Ages 25-34 =? 34% said they were not financially stable yet  Ages 35+ => 41% said they haven't found what they are looking for Why else?  Change in marriage market itself => 2 theories:  1. Oppenheimer o Decline in men's wages relative to women's o Increased reservation wage for women  Increased Reservation Wage for job search --> $50,000 salary instead of your typical $45,000 --> takes longer to find that job o Extended marital search to attain higher quality match  2. Beeker o Women's economic independence o Women no longer specialize in domestic work o Thus, gains to marriage are less o Specialization and trading model Demographic Change 1. Delay in forming marriages 2. Non-marriage a. Divorce b. Alternative union (cohabitation) c. Why do we see these delay? Deinstitutionalization of Marriage  Cherlin (reading) o Weakening of social norms (roles we play, acceptable behavior) o Norms of marriage  Between a man and a woman  Traditional gender roles (breadwinner)  Children within marriage  (If no kids, assume there are fertility issues or they are selfish)  Level of authority/power allocated to family members Signs of decrease in Marriage  Cohabitation  Same-sex marriage  Rise of non-marital fertility  Changing gender roles (weakening of breadwinner model) (women increase participation in labor market) (men increase participation in domestic roles) Signal Change in Meaning of Marriage 1. 1850-1960: Era of Mandatory Marriage a. I. Marriage as an Institution i. Marriage was functional 1. Economic cooperation 2. Childbearing and childrearing 3. Controlling sexual behavior a. Reduced nonmarital fertility b. Had to be married for sex c. Men were "wild animals" and had lots of sex b. II. Marriage as a Companionship i. Love entered into relationship and essential component of marriage ii. Required that people still play roles (breadwinner roles) iii. Derive satisfaction of their marriage based on how well they performed their roles (being good wife/mother) 2. 1960-present today a. III. Individualized Marriage i. Seeking an optimal match ii. Someone you want to be around, share your goals, your "soulmate" 1. Fulfill/compliment you iii. Individualized level of characteristics iv. No longer a companionship v. Intimacy (not roles, but qualitative aspects of relationship vi. Develop your persona b. IV. "The Pure Relationship" i. Based purely on intimacy ii. No gender roles iii. Pure relationships that bond people together without institutionalized factors (focused more on intimacy and the individual) If marriage is becoming obsolete, why are people still getting married? => 90% of people will marry at some point What does Cherlin say?  Is it functional?  Is there any evolutionary basis? o We need marriage to maintain a system of child-bearing  Is it a system of exchange? o If people still marry, the women are going to mainly be unemployed; however, that is not true as of today  Is it a rational decision? o Enforceable trust o What does this mean? o Is this enough to explain why people still marry? => Marriage is no longer a system of norms, but means something else (seen as an accomplishment, a sign of status) o We don't marry because of evolutionary basis, but rather enforceable trust => making a public commitment (embarrassment/shame/stigma if you divorce => personal failure) o Less of a public declaration (cohabitation) and you don't feel as bad if you break up o Marriage symbolized start of life, but NOW it signifies the capstone of life  Sign of status/personal accomplishment Marriage as Status  Marker of prestige  Something someone builds up to  The apex of their life, rather than the start  A time to show "you've made it" Meaning that Marriage has Changed  Wedding (parents used to pay for the wedding, family event, transfer of relationships)  Nowadays, weddings are expensive ($20,000)  Wedding => symbolic way of marking our status (bigger the wedding, bigger the status) (highly personalized)  People from higher socioeconomic portions of the population will marry more (marriage rates declining fastest with least educated people and declining at slowest rate with people that have a bachelors degree)  Takes a certain level of resources to get to this place where you can marry and show people that you've made it  People delaying marriage until they can get to a place where they want to have a certain level of status (financially stable) What is the Future of Marriage? 3 Possibilities: 1. Reinstitutionalization of Marriage a. Return to its original form b. Marriage probably not going to return to this state 2. Continuation of the Current Situation a. Marrying for its symbolic value 3. Fading away of marriage a. More cohabitation -Symbolic value of marriage grows stronger (more elusive and valuable) -Marriage most likely not going to fade away and rather be a continuation of the current situation => #2 Marriage  Societal benefit  Love-based marriage contributes to its destabilization o Takes a lot of work and investment Marriage and Well-Being  "Does Marriage Matter?" (Linda Waite 1995) o Presidential address o Declines in marriage and increase in nonmarriage are important because they provide benefits for society and individuals o Retreat from marriage can deprive individual of certain benefits Benefits of Marriage:  Lower mortality rates  Better health behaviors  Wealth and assets  Income/$$  Child well-being  Sexual frequency/well-being/satisfaction  Labor force participation/returns to work Health Behaviors => Risky health behaviors (alcohol, drugs, smoking) => Positive health behaviors (exercise, good nutrition)  Marriage increases engage in positive health behaviors and decrease in negative ones o Feel sense of responsibility to minimize your sense of risks o Monitoring not only your healthy behavior, but also your spouses o Larger benefit to men because they are more risky o Marriage imposes structure on your life Reduced Mortality  Married men and women have fewer/lower risks of dying (more than those divorced or never married)  Men die sooner than women due to increased stress (males work more)  Age gap in mortality between females and males close because women are working more  Single people --> no social support, no emotional support  Marriage provides you with a network of support  Married women have increased probability of survival (widowed are next)  Married men have increased probability (widowed men don't have as high of a percentage of mortality that women do) --> Men derive more emotional support from marriage than women (broken-heart syndrome) Partnered Sex  Married people have increased sex than unmarried people  Cohabiters report highest frequency of sex per month  Single people have lower frequency of sex per month Satisfaction of Sex  Married couples are most satisfied, then cohabiters are next, and singles are least satisfied with their sex lives --> have a readily available partner Assets and Wealth  Enormous gap between married and "other" (widowed, divorced, and single)  Married couples have so much more money o Economies of scale (two people can live together more cheaply than one) o Cost go down and married people save their money because they're more future- oriented (1. Save for retirement, a house) o In a more traditional way, 2. inheritance flows through marital bonds o 3. specialization: tradeoff that allows people to maximize their wealth Does Marriage Matter?  Benefits trickle down to children  On average, there is more money that trickles down to kids, less conflict/stress in married homes (more parental warmth and involvement), being in a physical healthy environment  Increases stability o Divorce => residential move, moving is stressful, affects' kids development  Child's Outcomes => man/woman parent (best grades) => never married woman parent (increased percentage of child getting behind in school  Repeating grades: o 6% chance with a mom and dad o 21% chance with a step-parent o 20% chance with only a mother Similar Outcomes for Children  Delinquency  Drop out  Drug/alcohol use  Risky sexual behavior Labor Market Outcomes  Marriage premium men (no benefit for women)  Men work more hours  Wage boost (men with kids work harder and are more employable --> work longer hours) Overview of Mechanisms  Long term contract o --> skills/specialization  Safety net (co-insurance)  Economies of scale  Connects people to other groups Counter Argument 1. Social Selection a. People with specific characteristics select into marriage versus non-marriage b. Benefits of marriage -for adults and kids - are not casual but spuriousness c. College is conferring benefits, but students already have the smarts and hard working drive d. Divorce causes child's depression or people who more likely to divorce have more personal issues and poor interpersonal skills, select into divorce i. "Casual" phenomenon isn't true, it was already there 2. Not all marriages are good marriages a. Ex) Child outcomes following divorce from high conflict marriage 3. Not all people benefit equally a. Ex) By gender, social class Marriage as a "Greedy" Institution (Gestel and Sarkisian)  It is sucking up/demands your time  Separates you from social connections/interactions o Ex) People aren't calling their parents, less likely to provide practical help to parent, socialize with neighbors and friends less  Marriage is time consuming (always working on your relationship, deep intimate bond leaves less time to invest in other social relationships)  We've evolved from a more public marriage to a more private marriage o => Honeymoon (friends and family don't go with you) it's a metamorphosis where you emerge as a couple into this private bond  Level of social capital


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