family_lec3 - History of U.S Families Sociology of the...

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9/9/2010 1 Sociology of the Family Prof. Mouzon Lecture 3 History of U.S. Families 1 Family History Themes Diversity – No such thing as “the family” The “modern family form” applies mostly to white families. Uneven Change Family change does not occur in a linear fashion. Human Agency - Families are active agents rather than passive victims of change. 2 Family Life in Colonial America: Macrostructural Conditions Early America was primarily rural with agriculture being the most important task. Family life characterized by family-based economy. Almost all production was done within the household. Each family member provided a product or service for the society. Tasks typically varied by 2 factors: _____________________________ Boundaries between family life & society were almost non- existent. Family matters not considered private 3
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9/9/2010 2 Multiple Functions of Colonial Families (Demos, 1970) Business School Vocational Institute Church House of correction Welfare institution Hospital Orphanage Old people‟s home Poorhouse 4 Family Life in Colonial America: Household Composition Families were typically nuclear in structure Debunks the notion of “progressive nucleation” Families tended to be larger than contemporary families, but smaller than the stereotypical portrayal. They were patriarchal. 5 Family Life in Colonial America: Wives and Husbands Marriages were arranged based on the social and economic purposes of larger kin groups. Romantic love was not absent, but marriage was more of a contractual agreement. High rates of remarriage. Why? Husbands had total authority of the family, but also were responsible for the family‟s well being. A shortage of women enhanced the status of women Women still expected to be second to their husbands. 6
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9/9/2010 3 Family Life in Colonial America: Children Families reared large numbers of children (average: 6). Blended families were common Women had an average of 8 children, though infant mortality was high Children's religious training was intensive and discipline was severe.
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