SocofthefamTextbookNotes1 - January 27th 2008 Sociology of...

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January 27 th 2008 Sociology of the Family - Textbook Notes Chapter 1: Public and Private Families: - Breadwinner-homemaker family: a married couple with children in which the father worked for pay and the mother did not. - Typical in 1950s - Also in 1950s, average woman gave birth to three children - Contrast to shows in 2000s, where: - Many parents and divorced/separated - Many parents are African American (families are more diverse) - Families in which married couples raise their biological children, although still common, do not dominate family life the way they did in the past. Political Debate about the family: - A) “Marriage movement:” a loose group of conservative and centrist activists, religious leaders, and social scientists who want to strengthen the institution of marriage - Sometimes called “traditionalists” - View childbearing as the central purpose of marriage - Bemoan changes in family life such as the increases in divorce, in childbearing outside of marriage, and in couples who live together outside of marriage. - They charge that parents today are doing a poorer job of bringing up children due to the increase in single-parent families and a higher percentage of mothers working outside the home. - Favor public policies that encourage marriage - In 2006, Congress passed a welfare bill that included money for promoting marriage - Supporters argued that activities such as relationship-skills training and high school course modules could help increase marriage rates and therefore benefit children. - Opponents argued that marriage promotion programs were unlikely to be successful and could encourage bad marriages that would hurt children. - B) “Diversity Defenders:” - Includes liberal activists, feminists, and like-minded social scientists - Focus less on childbearing and more on the personal rewards that family life provides to adults - They believe that adults should be free to choose the style of life they find most satisfying - They argue that society can adjust to the new family forms, such as two-earner couples and single-parent households, by changing the ways in which the workplace and the school are organized. - They assert that there is little evidence to back up the claim that having a working mother hurts children. - They argue that single-parent families can be just as good for children as married-couple families if they receive the support they need. - Counter that public policies should support families of all types, whether they include a married couple or not. - 2004: Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage Individualism and Families:
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- Individualism: A style of life in which individuals pursue their own interests and place great importance on developing a personally rewarding life. - 2 types in America: 1) Utilitarian Individualism: A style of life that emphasizes self-reliance and personal achievement, especially in one’s work life.
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