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					  Sociology 10

  Marriage and Family
Instructor: Erica Crowell
    August 17, 2010
             Defining the Family

• US Census Bureau: “A group or two or more persons
  related by birth, marriage or adoption and residing together
  in a household. “
                 Defining the Family
• “Any group of persons united by the ties of marriage, blood, or adoption,
   or any sexually expressive relationship, in which (1) the people are
   committed to each other in an intimate, interpersonal relationship, (2) the
   members see their identity as importantly attached to the group and (3)
   the group has an identity of its own.” Phillip Rice

• “Cohabiting groups of some duration composed of persons in intimate
  relationships based on biology, law , custom, or choice and usually
  economically interdependent.” Joan Aldous

• “A small kinship-structured group with the key function of nurturant
  socialization of the newborn.” Ira Reiss
             Defining the Family
• Defining the family as having a special relationship rather
  than being comprised of any particular kind of household or

What comprises this relationship?
 1) Continuity: some expectation that the relationship will
 2) Familiarity: individuals know one another’s likes and
      Defining the Family, Cont.
“In the past, families of all classes kept domestic animals
because they served a useful purpose– guard dogs, hunting
dogs, mice-killing cats and so on. The practice of keeping
animals regardless of their usefulness , the keeping exactly, of
pets is a modern innovation, and, on the social scale on which
it exists today, is unique. It is part of that universal but
personal withdrawal into the private small family unit,
decorated or furnished with momentoes from the outside
world, which is such a distinguishing feature of consumer
societies.” From John Berger, About Looking.
     Review: Defining the Family
• US Census Bureau: “A group or two or more
  persons related by birth, marriage or adoption
  and residing together in a household. “

• We added:
  1) relationship/quality
  2) continuity
      August 24, 2010
  Family in Historical Perspective
• Ahistorical nostalgia: correct through
  understanding the family in historical context.

• Family is influenced by other social and
  historical forces: economy, demography,
  social norms, class, etc.
            Some Numbers
• In Colonial times, average marriage lasted 10
• During WWII, fathers of 183,000 children
  were killed.
• During WWII, 7 million women were
  employed, 75% married.
• During the Great Depression, 1 in 4 Americans
  was unemployed and farm income fell 50%.

  Coalition Military Fatalities By Year

            US     UK    Other    Total

   2003     486     53       41     580

   2004     849     22       35     906

   2005     846     23       28     897

   2006     822     29       21     872

   2007     904     47       10     961

   2008     314      4        4     322

   2009     149      1        0     150

   2010      44      0        0      44
   Total   4414    179      139   4732
   Family in Historical Perspective
I. The Colonial Family
II. Industrialization & Urbanization
III. The Rise of the Modern Family; The
     Companionate Family
IV. The “Golden Fifties”
V. 1960 and Beyond
              I. Colonial Family
• Nuclear family prevalent in England and first
  settlements in the US. Few households were made
  up of extended families.
• High birth rates (6-7 children) but high infant
  mortality resulted in small households with large age
  differences between children.
• Most settlements were small, family was considered
  a little “commonwealth (or cottage industry).”
• Divorce only permitted in cases of: adultery, bigamy,
  impotence, desertion. In 1765, “loss of affection”
  was added.
             I. Colonial Family
Family functions:
• Economic unit: goods produced and
  exchanged. Everyone works.
• Education: children educated in the home.
• Religious instruction and prayer
• Welfare institution: families cared for their
  sick, orphaned, elderly.
         I. Colonial Families
Husbands and Wives
• Relationships based on inequality: women
  were subordinate to men.
• Men and women worked together to produce,
  cultivate and process goods for the family’s
• Economic roles of women were limited.
          I. Colonial Families
Children’s Lives
• 10-30% children died before their 1st birthday,
  2/3 children died before 10th birthday
• Repression, religion and respect
• Child labor was almost universal
II. Industrialization & Urbanization
• Industrialization: transformation of an economy
  from small family-based agriculture to large
  industrial capital.
• Family became a unit of consumption rather than
• Men left the home to work, development of the
  “head of household” or “breadwinner.”
• Family privatized: a place of refuge. Women became
  solely responsible for expressive functions.
• Infant mortality declined (1800 as high as 200 per
  1000 live births, roughly half that by 1900).
        III. The Modern Family
The emergence of the modern family
• Courtship more open
• Marriages based on affection rather than
  financial consideration
• Focus on children
• When? Sometime between 1830-1900
• By 1900, “Companionate Family” emerges:
  marriage based on the notion of companionship
• From 1900-1940, role expectations and family
  structure remained stable.
       III. Modern Family: Great
         Depression 1929-1939
• The Depression had a powerful impact on family
  life. It forced couples to delay marriage and drove
  the birthrate below the replacement level for the
  first time in American history. The divorce rate
  fell, for the simple reason that many couples
  could not afford to maintain separate households
  or pay legal fees. But rates of desertion soared.
  By 1940, 1.5 million married women were living
  apart from their husbands. More than 200,000
  vagrant children wandered the country as a result
  of the breakup of their families.
 III. Modern Family: Great Depression
• Widespread unemployment undermined the
  ‘breadwinner role.”
• Much greater impact on working-class families
  and on ethnic minorities. Women and
  minorities first to be fired.
  III. Modern Family: World War II
• Needed women in the work force to build
  ships, airplanes, tanks, ammunition.
• 1941-1944, 6-7 million women joined labor
• Divorce rate reached high in 1946
        IV. The Golden Fifties
• Unprecedented economic growth: 60% Americans
  were “middle class.”
• Glorification of the roles of wife and mother
• Father as primary wage earner
• Birth rates rose (baby boom)
• Age at marriage dropped (19 women)
• TV, advertizing, movies reinforced strict gender
• Development of Suburbs
• Minority, poor and immigrant women continued to
        V. 1960s and Beyond
• 1960s: Time of Social Revolution: civil rights
  movement, women’s movement, anti-war
  movement, sexual revolution.
• Baby boom matures: between 1960-1970,
  number of youth between age 18-24 grew by
• Currently: lower birth rates(except 2006-
  2007), higher divorce rates, marriage age
  increased, age at birth of 1st child increased.
          V. 1960 and Beyond
• Marital satisfaction: More couples reported
  that their marriages were “happy” in 1978
  than did in 1957.
• Couples in second marriages report they are
  happier than first marriages.
       V. 1960’s and Beyond

“Young people tend to lead social revolutions
because they are old enough to understand
economic and social injustice but young
enough not to have the responsibilities of
work and family.”
Sociological Theory & The Family

          August 31, 2010
I. Functions of the Family
II. Microperspective vs. Macroperspective
III. Theoretical Perspectives
     A. Structural functionalism
     B. Symbolic Interactionism
     C. Conflict (Feminist/World Systems)
     D. Other Theories:
         social exchange
         family life course development
         family systems
            Family Functions
1.   Regulation of Sexual Activity
2.   Procreation and Socialization of Children
3.   Economic Security
4.   Emotional Support
5.   Reinforce Existing Social Structure (Class)
        Theoretical Perspectives
A theory is:

• A set of statements that explains why a
  particular phenomenon occurs.
          Micro vs. Macro
• Microlevel Perspective: people make
  individual decisions. Interpersonal factors
  influence our choices.
  Problem: Can’t explain factors over which
  people have very little control.
• Marcrolevel Perspective: Social constraints
  limit our choices.
  Problem: Where is our agency?
           Macrolevel Forces
• Economic forces: industrialization, outsourcing,
  immigration, education necessary for jobs.
• Technological innovations: birth control, infant
  mortality improvements, treatment for cancer,
• Pop culture: music, videos, u-tube, television.
• Social movements: civil rights, gay rights,
• Family policies: who, when and how of public
        Theories of the Family
1) Structural functionalism *
2) Symbolic Interaction*
3) Conflict *
3a) Feminist
3b) World Systems
4) Other Theories: Social Exchange,Family Life
   Course Development, Family Systems
       Structural Functionalism
• Influenced by Darwin
• Society is system of interrelated and
  interdependent parts.
• Drastic change in any part leads to social
• Normal or standard family is the nuclear
          Symbolic Interaction
• Human are unique in ability to create and
  manipulate symbols (we can think about
  ourselves in broader categories)
• Meaning is created in interaction
• Born into an ongoing society
• Not born with a self, +/- self concepts develop
  through interaction (primarily in the family)
               Conflict Theory
• Based on Marxism
• Conflict is natural and inevitable because resources
  are scarce
• Economy determines the structure of all other social
• Conflict is necessary for growth and social change.
• Oppression and exploitation found in capitalism is
  duplicated in the family.
  Conflict Theory/Feminist Theory
• Inequality and power imbalances are a result
  of gender, rather than economic forces.
         World Systems: INDIA
• I billion people
• 2.4% worlds area; 16% population
• Per capita income (PPP): $3,139
• Aggressive campaign to lower birth rate is
  difficult because of low literacy. But it is
  falling. (1951: 45 per 1000; 2005: 25 per
• Resulted in sex ratio imbalance 105.2/100 (in
  some states as high as 123/100