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Richard T. Schaefer

SOCIOLOGY:

A Brief Introduction
Seventh Edition

2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

chapter

The Family and


Intimate Relationships

12

CHAPTER OUTLINE

Global Views of the Family


Studying the Family
Marriage and Family
Divorce
Diverse Lifestyles
Social Policy and the Family: Gay Marriage

2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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A Look Ahead

How do family and intimate relationships


differ in the United States from other parts
of the world?
How do family patterns differ from one
culture to another?
In what ways do family patterns differ
within a culture?

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Composition:
What Is the Family?

Nuclear family: nucleus or core upon


which larger family groups are built
Extended family: family in which relatives
live in same home as parents and their
children

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Composition:
What Is the Family?

Monogamy: form of marriage in which


one woman and one man are married
only to each other
Serial monogamy: when a person has
several spouses in his or her lifetime, but
only one spouse at a time

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Composition:
What Is the Family?

Polygamy: when an individual has


several husbands or wives
simultaneously
Polygyny: marriage of a man to more than
one woman at a time
Polyandry: marriage of a woman to more
than one husband at the same time

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Figure 12-1: U.S. Households by


Family type, 1940-2010

Source: Authors estimate based on Bureau of the Census 1996; Fields 2204; see also McFalls
2003:23.
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Kinship Patterns: To Whom Are


We Related?

Kinship: state of being related to others


Bilateral descent: both sides of a persons
family are regarded as equally important
Patrilineal descent: only the fathers relatives
are important
Matrilineal descent: only the mothers
relatives are significant

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Authority Patterns:
Who Rules?

Patriarchy: males are expected to


dominate in all family decision making
Matriarchy: women have greater authority
than men
Egalitarian family: family in which
spouses are regarded as equals

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Functionalist View

Family serves six functions for society:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Protection
Socialization
Reproduction
Regulation of sexual behavior
Affection and companionship
Provision of social status

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Conflict View

Family reflects inequality in wealth and


power found within society
In wide range of societies, husbands
exercised power and authority within
the family
View family as economic unit contributing
to social injustice
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Interactionist View

Focuses on micro level of family and


other intimate relationships
Interested in how individuals interact with
each other whether they are cohabiting
partners or longtime married couples

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Feminist View

Urged social scientists and social


agencies to rethink notion that families in
which no adult male is present are
automatically a cause for concern
Feminists stress the need to investigate
neglected topics in family studies

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Table 12-1: Sociological


Perspectives on the Family

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Courtship and Mate Selection

Aspects of Mate Selection


Endogamy: Endogamy specifies the groups
within which a spouse must be found and
prohibits marriage with members of other
groups
Exogamy: Exogamy requires mate selection
outside certain groups, usually ones own
family or certain kin
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Courtship and Mate Selection

Aspects of Mate Selection

(continued)

Incest taboo: social norm common to virtually


all societies prohibiting sexual relationships
between certain culturally specified
relationships
Homogamy: conscious or unconscious
tendency to select mate with personal
characteristics similar to ones own
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Courtship and Mate Selection

The Love Relationship


Coupling of love and marriage not universal
Many world cultures give priority in mate
selection to factors other than romantic
feelings
Concept of homogamy has been incorporated
into the process of seeking a date or marital
partner online
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Variations in Family Life and


Intimate Relationships

Social Class Differences


The upper class emphasizes lineage and
maintenance of family position; lower class
families likely to have one parent at home, and
children typically assume adult responsibilities

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Variations in Family Life and


Intimate Relationships

Racial and Ethnic Differences


Black single mothers often belong to stable,
functioning kin networks
Mexican Americans are more familistic
Machismo: sense of virility, personal worth,
and pride in ones maleness
Familism: pride in the extended family

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Figure 12-2: Percentage of People


Ages 20 to 24 Ever Married,
Selected Countries

Source: United Nations Population Division 2005.


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Figure 12-3: Rise of Single-Parent


Families in the United States,
1970-2000

Source: Bureau of the Census 1994:63; Fields 2001:7.


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Child-Rearing Patterns in
Family Life

Parenthood and Grandparenthood


One of most important roles of parents is
socialization of children
Recently, U.S. witnessed extension of
parenthood with adult children living at home
Boomerang generation or full-nest
syndrome

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Child-Rearing Patterns in
Family Life

Adoption
Process that allows for the transfer of the
legal rights, responsibilities, and privileges of
parenthood to a new legal parent or parents

Dual-Income Families
Among married people between the ages of
25 and 34, 96% of men and 68% of women in
the labor force in 2004
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Statistical Trends in Divorce

Divorce rates increased in late 1960s,


then leveled off
Since late 1980s, it has declined by 25 percent
Partly due to aging of baby boomer population and
corresponding decline in proportion of people in
marriageable age

About 63% of all divorced individuals in U.S.


remarry
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Factors Associated
with Divorce

Greater social acceptance of divorce


More liberal divorce laws
Fewer children
Greater family income
More opportunities for women

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Impact of Divorce on Children

About a third of children benefit from


divorce because it lessens exposure to
conflict (Amato and Booth, 1997)
In about 70 percent of divorces, the
parents engaged in low level of conflict
In those cases, the realities of divorce
appeared to be harder for children to bear
than living with the marital unhappiness
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Diverse Lifestyles

Marriage has lost much of its social


significance as a rite of passage
U.S. marriage rate has declined since
1960
Postponing marriage until later in life
Forming partnerships without marriage

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Diverse Lifestyles

Cohabitation: male-female couples who


choose to live together without marrying
About half of all currently married couples in
U.S. say they lived together before marriage

Remaining Single
Trend toward maintaining a single lifestyle for a
longer period is related to growing economic
independence of young people
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Diverse Lifestyles

Marriage without Children


About 16% to 17% of women will complete
childbearing years without children compared
with 10% in 1980

Lesbian and Gay Relationships


Gay and lesbian couples face discrimination
on both personal and legal levels

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Figure 12-4: Trends in Marriage


and Divorce in the United States,
1920-2004

Sources: Bureau of the Census 1975:64; National Vital Statistics Reports 2005.
2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Figure 12-5: Unmarried-Couple


Households by State

Source: T. Simmons and OConnell 2003:4.


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Gay Marriage

The Issue
Attitudes toward marriage are complex
Society and culture suggest that youth should
find the perfect mate and marry
Young people also bombarded with
acceptability of divorce
In this atmosphere, the idea of same-sex
marriage strikes some in U.S. as attack on
traditional marriage
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Gay Marriage

The Setting
Vermont gave gay couples legal benefits of
marriage through civil union
Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled states
constitution gives gay couples right to marry

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Gay Marriage

Sociological Insights
Functionalists: religious views toward
marriage cannot be ignored
Conflict theorists: denial of right to marry
reinforces second-class citizenship
Interactionists: focus on support or opposition
of family, co-workers, and friends
As many as 50% of citizens favor civil union
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Gay Marriage

Policy Initiatives
Recognition of same-sex partnerships not
uncommon in Europe
Trend is toward recognition in North America
as well
Many nations remains strongly opposed
In U.S. local jurisdictions have recognized
domestic partnerships for benefits
2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.