Public and Private Families

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1 Public and Private Families Andrew Cherlin 7th Edition Prepared by Cathie Robertson, Grossmont College McGraw-Hill 2013 McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights Reserved.

2 Chapter 1 Public and Private Families 1-2

3 Marriage and Individualism On one hand, marriage-centered family life remains the preference On the other, there is much more toleration for family life without the boundaries of marriage, and the idea to never marry is acceptable 1-3

4 Marriage and Individualism (cont.) Individualism Pursuing own interest and priority is on developing a personally rewarding life Utilitarian Individualism: Puts emphasis on self-reliance and personal achievement Expressive Individualism: Places emphasis on developing one s feelings and emotional satisfaction 1-4

5 Marriage and Individualism (cont.) Although most Americans want to marry, they feel less of a need to do so today Marriage may compete with staying in school, developing a career, cohabitating, or having children outside of marriage 1-5

6 Figure 1.1 Percentage of Adults answering very important to the following values 1-6

7 What is a Family? Social Conservative definition only one correct family Two parent breadwinner-homemaker family is the only acceptable form Economic definition specific rules about who qualifies to be a family member Only those that qualify are eligible for benefits Cultural definition varies from culture to culture 1-7

8 What is a Family? (cont.) Two key questions about public responsibilities and private pleasures of a family 1. How well are families taking care of children, the frail elderly, and the ill? 2. How well are families providing emotional satisfaction that people value? 1-8

9 The Public Family Definition of the Public Family : 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 1-9

10 The Public Family (cont.) Cost and Benefits Externalities: Costs or benefits that accrue to others when an individual or business produces something 1-10

11 The Public Family (cont.) Negative externalities: Costs imposed when an individual or business produces something of value to itself Positive externalities: Benefits received by others when an individual or business produces something that is not fully compensated for to that business or individual 1-11

12 The Public Family (cont.) Public Goods Things that might be enjoyed by people who did not pay for or produce themselves Children might be considered a public good Look to Social Security as an example 1-12

13 The Public Family (cont.) Families produce children Families care for young, poor, and elderly By performing these tasks they are saving the public funds it would cost to do so 1-13

14 The Public Family (cont.) The free-rider problem Tendency for people to obtain public goods by letting others produce the goods that they enjoy like a free ride on the back of another 1-14

15 The Private Family Private Family : Two or more individuals who maintain an intimate relationship that they expect will last indefinitely or, in the case of parent and child, until the child reaches adulthood and who live in the same household and pool their income and household labor 1-15

16 The Private Family (cont.) Provides intimacy, emotional support, and love This is where children first form attachments, teenagers take steps toward independence, and adults share inner selves with someone else 1-16

17 The Private Family (cont.) Kinship ties from the Private Family Created kinship have been constructed Assigned kinship have been acquired 1-17

18 Two Views, Same Family Both the public and private perspective could apply to the same family unit There are two ways to look at the institution of the family 1-18

19 How Do Family Sociologists Know What They Know? Look at the family with objectivity this allows conclusions to be drawn in a social situation that are unaffected by one s own beliefs Scientific method systemic organized series of steps that ensures maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem 1-19

20 How Do Family Sociologists Know What They Know? (cont.) Essence of scientific method forms a hypothesis a speculative statement about the relationship between two or more variables 1-20

21 How Do Family Sociologists Know What They Know? (cont.) Rarely possible for sociologists to conduct randomized experiments on families Research is generally done by one of two methods: Survey: A study in which individuals from a geographic area are selected, usually at random, and asked a fixed set of questions Observational study: A study in which the researcher spends time directly observing each participant 1-21

22 How Do Family Sociologists Know What They Know? (cont.) National Surveys Larger Use in-person interviews Are longitudinal (interview conducted several times at regular intervals) Intended to be public resources Conducted by academic researchers 1-22

23 Sociological Theory and Families Methods and questions used by sociologists are influenced by sociological theory We will be looking at four perspectives of theories Exchange Perspective Symbolic Interaction Perspective Feminist Perspective Postmodern Perspective 1-23

24 Exchange Perspective Exchange theory Women exchange performance of household and childcare services in return for benefit of men s income Men perform outside labor in exchange for household and childcare services performed by women When women earn money on their own, their dependence decreases and husbands power over them decreases 1-24

25 Symbolic Interaction Perspective Symbolic interaction theory We interpret symbols of how people act Shared understandings of how people should act create the basis of social roles that people play 1-25

26 Feminist Perspective Feminist theory Gender defines social roles and cultural characteristics These roles have no biological reason-- culturally dictated; socially constructed These roles appear to be constructed to give men power Experience of living in a family is different for women than it is for men 1-26

27 The Postmodern Perspective Personal life has changed fundamentally over the last several decades Modern era mid-19th century to mid-tolate 20th century Late modern era began mid-to-late 20th century aka Postmodern era In the modern era, individuals moved through a series of roles (student, spouse, parent, housewife, breadwinner) that seemed more or less natural 1-27

28 The Postmodern Perspective (cont.) In the Postmodern era, individuals must make choices about nearly all aspects of their lives These include whether or not to get married, have children; not necessarily both Self-identity: A person s sense of who he or she is and where he or she fits into the social structure. Reflectivity: The process through which individuals take in knowledge, reflect on it, and alter their behavior as a result 1-28

29 Globalization and Families Globalization : The increasing flow of goods and services, money, migrants, and information across the nations of the world 1-29

30 Globalization and Families (cont.) Globalization has affected family life, though differently for Western and developing nations. Developing Nations Creation of millions of low-wage jobs Women working outside the home gain independence Childcare needs Western Nations Difficult for high schooleducated adults to find jobs Delaying marriage 1-30

31 A Sociological Viewpoint on Families Author believes families perform services of value to society and should be publicly supported when necessary despite diversity, families still are worth studying stable long-term partnerships, regardless of sexual orientation, provide the best environment for raising children 1-31

32 A Sociological Viewpoint on Families (cont.) Alternative family forms with adequate support can provide good environments for children In equality of men and women in family life In using the singular form family when discussing the family as a social institution where there is a set of roles and rules that define a social unit of importance to society 1-32

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