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SOCIOLOGY 169: CHANGING FAMILY FORMS FINAL REVIEW 1 CHAPTER 1: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FAMILIES The Family: Is the glass half empty or half full? Family Defined o “Blood”: genetic similarity o Roles: nuclear (parents & children) vs. extended family o Love: “fictive kin” o Legal: “adoption, guardianship” o Function: those who will take you in when nobody else will Fixed definitions of Family o Social conservative definition – only one family is “correct” Two parent Breadwinner-Homemaker family o Economic definition- specific rules about who qualifies as family member Only those that “qualify” are eligible for benefits (e.g., tax deductions, health insurance) Varied definitions of family o Cultural definitions- varies from culture to culture Western nations practice monogamy- 1 husband, 1 wife African, Arabic and Asian practice more than 1 husband, 1 wife European- bond between mother and child is strong Kinship ties can be assigned (acquired by birth) or created (constructed by agreement, experience) Ambivalence in Families o Marriage centered family life remains preference for majority of Americans o Much more tolerance for family life without the boundaries of marriage; idea to never marry is acceptable o Examples of Today’s younger singles Postpone marriage for career or education Women in the labor market Greater acceptance of premarital sex and use of contraceptives Able to avoid unwanted pregnancy Contrasting views of the family o Optimistic: Family is changing but its always been changing [LIBERAL] Families are adapting well to social change Changes in women’s lives in work and family roles has given them broader opportunities Americans value increased independence and choice o Pessimistic: Marriage has weakened as an institution [CONSERVATIVE] Fewer children and more women working Liberal divorce laws Values of selfish individualism has undermined “family values” Declining families have put a “generation at risk” What does a family do? o Families provide emotional support: intimacy, love, personal fulfillment, take care of children, the frail elderly and the ill Private family: consequences for family members only o Definition: Two or more individuals who maintain an intimate relationship that they expect will last, and who live in the same household and pool their income and household labor. o The intimacy, whether it be parent-child attachment, sexual among the partners, or sharing of inner selves is the crux of this family Public family: consequences for family members and other families, the public
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SOCIOLOGY 169: CHANGING FAMILY FORMS FINAL REVIEW 2 o Definition: one adult, or two adults who are related by marriage, partnership, or shared parenthood, who is/are taking care of dependents, and the dependents themselves The presence of dependents is the key to this definition. Dependency can be defined economically, or based on help
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This note was uploaded on 09/23/2010 for the course PSYCH 15 taught by Professor Kiotas during the Spring '10 term at Pasadena City College.

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