SOCI-169 Midterm Study Guide - PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FAMILIES...

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PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FAMILIES 7/29/15 9:18 AMTWO VIEWS ON FAMILY CHANGE Pessimistic oMarriage has weakened as an institution §Few children, more women working §Liberal divorce laws oWhy? Cultural and moral weakening §Values of selfish individualism has undermined family values oDeclining families have put a “generation at risk” §Increases in poverty, absence of fathers oSolution? §Change culture of marriage and parenthood Optimistic oFamily is changing, but it has always been changing §Families are adapting well to social change §Changes in women’s lives in work and family roles has given them broader opportunities oWhy? Economic change §Americans value increased independence and choice oSolution? §Address structural changes in public spheres of employment, schools, policy PUBLIC FAMILY Examples oMarried, cohabiting, single parent with children, single parent caring for ailing parent oGay person caring for partner with AIDS Main Function oRaising the next generation oCaring for the elderly oCaring for the ill and disabled oDependents is crux Key Challenge oFree-rider problem §Tendency for people to obtain public good produced by others Costs and Benefits oFamilies “produce” children: next generation of producers and consumers oFamilies care for young, poor, and elderly oBy performing these tasks, they are saving the public funds it would cost to do so. Public goods that families provide to society oThings that might be enjoyed by people who did not directly pay for or produce themselves
oChildren might be considered as a public good PRIVATE FAMILY Examples oMarried or cohabiting couples without children oGay/lesbian couples without children Main functions oProviding love and intimacy oProviding emotional support oIntimacy is crux Key challenge oBoundary problem 4 THEORIES ON FAMILY LIFE Exchange Perspective oMain theme §Individuals with greater resources and more alternatives can drive better bargains oApplication to families §Husband’s power over wives is greater when wives do not earn money on their own oPeople are viewed as rational beings who decide whether to exchange goods or services by considering benefits and costs oFocuses on investments and benefits §Goal to minimize costs and maximize benefits oRelationships are balanced if benefits = cost oImbalanced relations involve power differentials §Dependency oMajor earner in family is in better “bargaining position” to get what he/she wants Symbolic Interaction Perspective oMain theme §Individuals interpret the actions of others and act in ways consistent with their interpretations oApplication to families §Individuals give, and look for, symbolic cues about how to conduct the activities of everyday family life oSocial world is a much more fragile and unstable place §Individuals continually creating and sustaining meanings §Not much conscious thought to cost and benefit o

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