2 Discussion Questions: - What is the family?- Should gays and lesbians be eligible for spousal benefits? Why?- Should daycare be a public matter or a private matter?- Why?
3 Dimensions of the family OUTLINEWhat is the family?Dimensions of the familyComparing the Traditional Nuclear Family with Empirical Reality.The Structural Functionalist Theoretical Perspective On the Family.Foraging Societies.Agricultural Societies.The Contemporary Family -- and its Origins in the 19th Century.Marriage and Sexuality.Gender, Marriage, and the Economic Sphere.Marriage and DivorceParenthood.
16 The Myth of the Natural Family Myths notwithstanding, the nuclear family is rare today. In 1991, only 15% of Canadian families contained a male breadwinner, female homemaker, and unmarried children at home.444
17 Family Structure, 1981-1991, Canada (in percent) %Source: Adapted from, “Changes in Family Living,” Canadian Social Trends, Catalogue No , Autumn 1996; or on the Statistics Canada webpage at < September 20, 1996.555
18 Household Structure, Canada, 1991 Source: Adapted from Pina La Novara, “Changes in Family Living,” Canadian Social Trends: A Canadian Studies Reader (Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing Inc., 1994), p. 172; and Statistics Canada, Families: Number, Type and Structure, 1991 Census of Canada, Cat. no , Table 3. (Ottawa: Minister of Industry, Science and Technology, 1992).666
19 Structural-Functionalism Structural-functionalists also assume that the nuclear family is universal because it supposedly performs certain essential social functions: socializing children, providing a framework for reproduction, emotional needs, and economic activity, etc.However, other social forms might be able to perform the same functions in ways that benefit individuals more. Existing institutions are not necessarily universal or ideal.777
20 A Definition.In order to allow for diversity in family forms it is best to define the family broadly as the set of relationships people create to share resources daily in order to ensure their own, and especially their children’s, welfare and to socially reproduce the society.
21 Foraging Societies IIn FORAGING SOCIETIES people subsist by gathering edibles and hunting wild game. Marriage establishes the nuclear unit, but the group of cooperating adults that is crucial for survival is the camp, or band. There is little private life for the nuclear unit.888
22 Foraging Societies IIWomen mainly gather and men mainly hunt; what women provide accounts for most of the subsistence, in some cases as much as 80%.999
27 The Origins of Contemporary Families Contemporary notions of family involve: a sexual division of labour in which women assume mothering and other domestic responsibilities, and men assume responsibilities in the paid labour force; the idea that the family is a private sphere; high levels of emotional involvement.121212
28 Contemporary Middle Class Families I A CULT OF DOMESTICITY developed in reaction to an emerging economy perceived as cruel, immoral, and beyond human control. The family was idealized as a place of peace, virtue and selfless love of children, and a “haven in a heartless world.”131313
31 Contemporary Working Class Families Meanwhile, family life was endangered in the 19th century working class. Men’s wages were so low that small children were forced to work for a wage. Women were economically dependent. Relations among family members were strained and violence was widespread.Trade unions responded by demanding a FAMILY WAGE, enough pay for the male breadwinner to support the family. The domestic ideals of the era thus helped to shape the class struggle.151515
34 GenderDue to differences in socialization, marriage takes precedence over other aspirations for women much more than is the case for men.Economic necessity also pulls many women into marriage; their earnings are in general substantially below those of men.But the fact that most jobs require employee devotion means that marriage often requires that women must make tough choices between having children and pursuing a career.171717
36 Gender1. They assumed that they would have a male partner and that he would be unwilling and unable to share the household work.2. They predicted that their future earnings, relative to their spouses, would be low and that it would therefore make economic sense for them to assume household responsibility rather than paid employment.171717
37 Gender3. Finally, they felt that babies were better off at home with their mothers.171717
39 Marriage and Divorce II While women are now better able to escape abusive and unhealthy marriages, the chief negative effect of divorce, for women and children, is the loss of income that follows.In 1994, 57% of single-parent mothers with dependent children were living below the poverty line.191919
40 Divorces per 100,000 Population, Canada, 1968-94 Sources: Adapted from, “Changes in Family Living,” Canadian Social Trends, Catalogue No , Autumn 1996; or on the Statistics Canada webpage at < September 19, 1996.Year202020
41 HouseworkMen do much less housework than their female partners because they have more decision-making power, work longer hours outside the home, and adhere to an ideology that assigns men and women different tasks.212121
43 Parenthood IThe gender division of labour increases substantially when couples become parents -- e.g., women take time off work while men work harder to make more money.Ties to the extended family strengthen and ties to friends weaken. Later, new friends tend to be people who have children of the same age.222222
44 Parenthood IContrary to popular belief, full-time mothering is often not beneficial either for the mother or the child. Care by several adults and spending part of the day outside the home helps childhood development.222222
45 Parenthood IIDue to higher divorce rates and more births outside marriage, 20% of Canadian families with children were lone-parent families in 1991.The difficulties of balancing childcare duties with labour force activity means that the lone mother’s reliance on government transfers has increased.232323