SYG 2000 Bay Path College Defining Family & Introduction to Sociology Discussion

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SYG 2000

Bay Path College



Now that you’ve read the text’s definition of family, clan and kin groups, think about the following questions and respond in essay format (2-3 pages):

How do you define family?

How do you decide what ‘membership’ in a family means?

Does your definition work across cultures?

As you consider the ways that family has changed during the past century, what are your conclusions about the meaning and purpose(s) of family today?Additional Considerations:

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The Meaning of Marriage and the Family Chapter 1 Chapter Outline Personal Experience, Social Controversy, and Wishful Thinking ⚫ What Is Marriage? What Is Family? ⚫ Functions of Marriages and Families ⚫ Extended Families and Kinship ⚫ The Major Themes of This Text ⚫ The Meaning of Marriage and Family ⚫ As we study family patterns and issues, we need to understand that our attitudes and beliefs about families both affect and distort views. Experience versus Expertise ⚫ Ongoing Social Controversy ⚫ What is Marriage? ⚫ A marriage is a legally recognized union between two people ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ The union is assumed to be permanent ⚫ ⚫ generally a man and a woman united sexually cooperate economically may give birth to, adopt, or rear children. may be dissolved by separation or divorce As simple as such a definition may make marriage seem, it differs among cultures and has changed considerably in our society. Shared Features of Marriage ⚫ Despite cultural and historical variation, the following characteristics seem to be shared among all marriages: 1. 2. 3. 4. The establishment of rights and obligations connected to gender, sexuality, relationships with kin and in-laws, and legitimacy of children. The establishment of specific roles within the wider community and society. The orderly transfer of wealth and property from one generation to the next. The assignment of the responsibility for caring for and socializing children to the spouses or their relatives Who May Marry? ⚫ Same sex marriage is now legal in the United States but as of mid-2009 only in: ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ Massachusetts Connecticut Iowa Vermont New Hampshire Maine. Forms of Marriage ⚫ Monogamy ⚫ ⚫ The only legal form of marriage in the U.S. Polygamy ⚫ The preferred marital arrangement worldwide Polygyny - the practice of having two or more wives ⚫ Polyandry - the practice of having two or more husbands ⚫ The Rights and Benefits of Marriage ⚫ The rights and benefits of marriage include but are not limited to: ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ Legal status with partner’s children Partner medical decisions Right to inherit property Award of child custody in divorce proceedings Control, division, acquisition, and disposition of community property Division of property after dissolution of marriage Payment of worker’s compensation benefits after death Public assistance from the Department of Human Service Defining Family ⚫ Census Definitions: ⚫ Family ⚫ ⚫ “a group of two or more persons related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together in a household” Household ⚫ “one or more people—everyone living in a housing unit makes up a household” Defining Family ⚫ In individuals’ perceptions of their own life experiences, family has a less precise definition ⚫ affiliated kin ⚫ ⚫ best friend, lover, priest, boyfriend, minister, rabbi, girlfriend, neighbor, teacher, godchild, pet There are also ethnic differences as to what constitutes family. Four Functions of the Family 1. 2. 3. 4. Provision of intimacy. Formation of a cooperative economic unit. Reproduction and socialization. Assignment of social roles and status. Types of Families ⚫ Family of orientation or Family of origin ⚫ ⚫ Family of procreation ⚫ ⚫ the family in which we grow up the family formed through marriage and childbearing Family of cohabitation ⚫ the family formed through living or cohabiting with another person Why Live in Families? 1. 2. 3. 4. Continuity as a result of emotional attachments, rights, and obligations. Close proximity. Intimate awareness of others. Economic benefits. Extended Families and Kinship ⚫ Extended Family ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ Consists of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws. May be formed through marriage or birth. Kinship System ⚫ ⚫ Kin can be affiliated, as when a nonrelated person is considered “as kin.” A relative may fulfill a different kin role, such as a grandmother’s taking the role of a child’s mother. Multiple Viewpoints of Families ⚫ In 2005, PBS conducted a poll of American attitudes and opinions on family issues. ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ ⚫ 80% of respondents agreed that it is better for children if their parents are married. 71% believe that “God’s plan for marriage is one man, one woman, for life.” 49% agree that it is okay for a couple to live together without intending to marry. 52% agree that divorce is the best solution for a couple who cannot work out their marriage problems. 55% agree that “Love makes a family . . . and it doesn’t matter if parents are gay or straight, married or single.” The Major Themes of This Text ⚫ Families Are Dynamic ⚫ ⚫ Families Are Diverse ⚫ ⚫ The family is a dynamic social institution that has undergone considerable change in its structure and functions Not all families experience things the same way Outside Influences ⚫ Outside forces shape family experiences
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Defining Family

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Defining Family
Family is an essential institution in society, and this makes it universal in different
cultures. Likewise, marriage norms and beliefs can be found in any community around the
world, making family and marriage cultural universals. It is the societies that establish and
sanction statuses like husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, and so on. Whereas marriage
and family have traditionally been closely related in the United States culture, with marriages
forming new families, their relationship becomes more complicated, as this essay and subsequent
data on cohabitation demonstrate.
Since families are the most fundamental social unit upon which a society is founded,
sociologists are particularly interested in the relationship between family and marriage. Marriage
and family are often related to other social structures like religion, economy, and government.
Johnson (2017) defines family as a socially recognized community or group usually linked by
marriage, adoption, cohabitation, or blood, which forms an emotional bond among its members
and functions as a societal, economic unit. Sociologists c...

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