soc101final - 1 Sociological Perspectives on the Family...

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1 Sociological Perspectives on the Family Kelly Hughes SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology Ashi Das April 4, 2011
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2 Society is viewed in many different ways. Some sociologists see the world basically as a stable and ongoing entity (Schaefer, 2009, p. 14). While others sociologists see society as composed of many groups in conflict, competing for scarce resources. The most fascinating aspects of the social world are the everyday, routine interactions among individuals that we sometimes take for granted (Schaefer, 2009, p. 14). Family may signify different concepts to different people, but it is the most important part of every culture. Most people define the word family as a unity within a group of people who care, nurture and tend to each other’s needs, at the same time creating an everlasting bond. The functionalist perspective proves that the family is the heart of the society. Family is an exclusive society, which is broken down into three groups; immediate, extended and inclusive. Your immediate family would normally include a father, mother, and kid(s); the extended family members would be grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousins, and in-laws and inclusive family members are chosen family members such as friends, church members and community members. Most people view family as the nuclear family which is “a married couple and their unmarried children living together” (Schaeffer, 2009, p. 289). The nuclear family was once considered the norm for a family structure, but what once the nuclear family was, is now comprised of a variety of combinations from blended, single and homosexual families. In today's society due to divorce and the rise of teenage pregnancy, single-parent families, are not uncommon. Extended family is referred to as, a family in which relatives such as grandparents, aunts, or uncles; live in the same home as parents and their children. Although not common, such living arrangements do exist in the United States (Schaefer, 2009, p. 289). The structure of the extended family offers certain advantages over that of the nuclear family. Crises such as death, divorce, and illness put less strain on family members, since more people can provide assistance
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3 and emotional support (Schaefer, 2009, p. 289). In addition, the extended family constitutes a larger economic unit than the nuclear family. If the family is engaged in a common enterprise, a farm or a small business, the additional family members may represent the difference between prosperity and failure (Schaefer, 2009, p. 289). For example: would be a single mother without a degree, supporting two children on her own, but with the help from the extended family members, she was able to return to school to obtain her degree. Even though our extended family members did not replace the absence of the father in the kids’ lives, they would provide them with assistance and emotional support. The term family has been believed to coincide with the word “marriage”. If you were to have
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soc101final - 1 Sociological Perspectives on the Family...

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