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Approaches to Studying Individuals and Families (Chapter 2)

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1 Approaches to Studying Individuals and Families (Chapter 2)

2 What are your preconceptions upon? Divorce rates? Single parenthood? Women, education and pay?

3 Divorces by province and territory 19992000200120022003 number of divorces Canada 70,91071,14471,11070,15570,828 Newfoundland and Labrador 892913755842662 Prince Edward Island 291272246258281 Nova Scotia 1,9542,0541,9451,9901,907 New Brunswick 1,6711,7171,5701,4611,450 Quebec 17,14417,05417,09416,49916,738 Ontario 26,08826,14826,51626,17027,513 Manitoba 2,5722,4302,4802,3962,352 Saskatchewan 2,2372,1941,9551,9591,992 Alberta 7,9318,1768,2528,2917,960 British Columbia 9,93510,01710,11510,1259,820 Yukon 11268919087 Northwest Territories including Nunavut 83.. Northwest Territories..94836862 Nunavut..7864.. : not available for a specific period of time. Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table (for fee) 053-0002. Last modified: 2006-03-22.053-0002

4 The Reality Divorce rates: Canadians are not avoiding marriage, just delaying it People are cohabitating prior to marriage Approx. 1/3 of marriages end in divorce  According to Statistics Canada

5 Single Parenthood: 4 out of 5 young children in Canada are currently living with their biological parents  According to the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth The Reality (continued)

6 Women, education and pay: A 1999 report reveals that women make up more than 50% of the graduates in Canada (high school, college or university) and are becoming better educated then men  From Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program The Reality (continued)

7 Theoretical Perspectives A little vocabulary: Disciplines = specific branches of learning  i.e. psychology, mathematics, physics Theoretical Perspective = identifies a point of view based on a specific theory Theory = a framework for organizing and explaining observable evidence (patterns and trends; not rules and absolutes) = a set of interrelated ideas and explanations that can be tested and applied to a number of different situations  Without facts, you can only speculate or guess  Without theory, information lacks meaning

8 Disciplines and Theoretical Perspectives The discipline determines what observations the researcher will make and which theoretical perspective will be used to organize and explain the results The discipline and theoretical perspective also determine whether the research will be a macro or micro study. The discipline may suggest how results are applied

9 In relation to studying the Family We come to understand: - How these families are affected by society - How society is affected by the family - How families are affected by the events in a family’s life - How family members are affected by the family itself

10 Disciplines in the Social Sciences Social scientists asks 4 fundamental questions: 1) What happens? 2) How does it happen? 3) Why does it happen? 4) How can people change what happens? - example: mate selection

11 Time for some REFLECTION! Identify 3 preconceptions or concerns you have about issues affecting individual and families in Canada? How might each of these concerns affect the choices you make about your life in the future? If you apply the four fundamental questions to each of the issues you identified, what specific questions would you ask?

12 Anthropology The study of human behavior in societies (the study of culture) Cultural anthropologists live within a society to observe the behavior in its natural setting and record anecdotal evidence  Pros? Cons? Study contemporary societies (looking for cultural patterns and regional variations)

13 A little vocabulary: Ethnocentrism: tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture According to the text, “by reading anthropological studies of other cultures, people will come to understand that all cultural behavior is “invented” and, as a result, they will develop an ability to observe their own culture objectively.” (page 30)

14 Sociology Explains the behavior of individuals in social groups, families, and society. Investigates social facts (i.e. sources of behavior to explain rates of behavior/ patterns of behavior) Generally studied at the macro level (example: Statistics Canada uses sociological methods to gather information about aspects of the family, consumer etc.)

15 A little vocabulary: Demographics: ________?__________  Used for planning social policy, marketing decisions and in academic studies. Aids in determining patterns and rates of behavior of groups facilitates planning and policy decisions BUT may not necessarily explain the behavior individuals

16 Psychology The study of behavior based on mental processes (how does the individual think) Micro level (individual level) and Macro level (group level) Example: Jean Piaget  Describes how children think at each age Uses personality to explain individual behavior Examines interaction and influence on one another  i.e. Solomon Asch and Conformity (the a,b,c line test)

17 Something to think about… How are other disciplines (i.e. history- trends, economics – acquire and use of resources, politics – power and authority, and religion) useful in the study of individuals and families?

18 Functionalism (aka: structural functionalism) Sociological theory (also used by anthropologists) Explains how a society is organized to perform its required functions OR how structures function within society Assumes the organization of society is based on a consensus about what is functional (structures = institutions i.e. political system, family, law etc.) Assumes society is stable when institutions functions in ways that benefit society Change is slow and can only occur if structures can adjust to maintain equilibrium

19 Examines the roles individuals play within an institution Status = specific position within a social group Role = set of expected behaviors that an individual is expected to demonstrate within a status * individuals learn appropriate behaviors for many roles they will play in society through the process of socialization Norm = most prevalent, consistent, accepted behaviors Functionalism (aka: structural functionalism)

20 Makes observations about role behavior and determines the rates at which various behaviors occur  Example: Rates of employment in Canadian families Uses a macro approach Functionalism (aka: structural functionalism)

21 Systems Theory Sociological Theory Explains how groups of individuals work together (a set of different parts that work together and influence one another in a relatively stable way over time)  i.e. Family Systems Theory examines family processes Feedback = a process by which the system informs its members how to interact to maintain stability (give and take process, influence is reciprocal) Meaningful habits = patterns of interaction that are repeated (ex. chores) Family systems adapt when change in one person’s behavior causes the behavior of others to evolve, results in new strategies and meaningful habits Behavior of individuals are inseparable from the group

22 Symbolic Interactionism Psychological theory Micro theory Explains how individuals choose how they will act based on their perceptions of themselves and of others Attempts to understand the point of view of the actor to explain the action  Example: putting a hand on your shoulder

23 Based on 3 concepts 1) Individual develops a self that has two parts: the “me” and the “I” 2) People must “take the attitude of the other” to be able to anticipate what the other person will do and decide how they should respond 3) People can interact effectively only if they can communicate using a common language; shared symbols Symbolic Interactionism

24 Social Exchange Theory Psychological Theory Explains the social factors that influence how individuals interact within reciprocal relationships Individuals are constrained by role expectation however, they act within each role to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs (i.e. choice marriage partners)

25 Developmental Theories - use interdisciplinary approach to describe patterns of growth and change throughout human life describes predictable changes in the behavior of individuals or families bio-psycho-social model used Cohorts = a group of individuals born in the same well-defined time period (used cautiously to understand the behavior of individuals of the same age) Normative Events = (in the family life cycle theory) the predictable events in life that require a developmental change in behaviour  i.e. Marriage

26 Conflict Theory Sociological and Political Theory Explains how society power (not functional interdependence) holds a society together Conflicts exist because of inequality in power (Groups are in competition, needs not always met; exploitation and oppression of individuals) Macro theory that explains inequalities Asks, “functional for whom?” (why does the structure of society not work for everyone) Karl Marx – 19 th cent Capitalist society Friedrich Engels – divisions btwn the sexes in marriage; oppression of women was linked to capitalism and would not end until capitalism was eliminated

27 Feminist Theories Explains the impact of sex and gender on behavior, and to consider issues of human behavior from the specific point of view of women Roots in Conflict Theory Developed to separate sex and gender from class and as a reaction to gender bias Androcentricity = is a bias that assumes male experience is human experience and therefore applies to women Vs. Double Standards – apply different standards for evaluating the behavior of men and women Argue that change is required so that the needs of all ppl are met

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