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U of M SOC 1201 - Theoretical perspectives in sociology - Functionalism

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Sociology 1201: Week TwoTheoretical perspectives in sociology: FunctionalismCharacteristics of institutions“Surprises” in family as an institutionSociological approaches to familyResearch methodsGroupsFamily history: the colonial periodHistory: The Breadwinner/Homemaker family20th century and the rise of the companionate family1950s family (really, 1946-1965)What was less golden in the 1950s?Sociology 1201Sociology 1201: Week Two 1. Tuesday: Complete “Legacy” and meet in groupsSociology 1201Theoretical perspectives in sociology: FunctionalismAnalyze social patterns in terms of the contribution they make to the well-being of society as a wholeInstitution: a complex social pattern that meets a societal needFamily SystemReligious system Political SystemCriminal JusticeMilitaryEducational systemEconomic SystemMass media????Sociology 1201Characteristics of institutionsSupported by traditionHave moral authorityInstitutions are interdependentUsually change slowly because of these first three characteristics… the family as an institution has been quite a surprise in that regard over the course of the last 40 years or soSociology 1201“Surprises” in family as an institutionDivorce revolutionBirths outside marriageFeminist MovementWomen in the work forceGay/lesbian rights movementBattered women’s movementSociology 1201Sociological approaches to familyThe scientific method: theory and researchObjectivity and the community of scholarsScience: the process of creating (and modifying) theories that are tested through systematic research. E.g. what are the consequences of divorce for children? (not primarily a matter of opinion or political views)Sociology 1201Research methodsExperiment: NOT FEASIBLE OR ETHICALQuantitative research methods: censuses, surveys and samples, government statisticsQualitative research methods: field study, in-depth interviewsCross cultural and longitudinal studiesSociology 1201GroupsMeet in groups to discuss your questions on the first three assignments in Promises I Can KeepRemember to attach your questions to the project report sheet (these must be typed!)Sociology 1201Family history: the colonial periodPatriarchyBroad range of functionsNuclear, not extended, both in norms and in realityHigh death rates and low life expectancyChildren as miniature adultsAfrican-American families: By 1790, 1 in 5 Americans were slaves (see “Africans in America”)Sociology 1201History: The Breadwinner/Homemaker familyBeginning in about 1820 although not the majority pattern until 1920Industrial capitalism and the division of labor by sexWomen as spiritual, men as practical/rational (legal powers, sexuality, voting)Childhood and the need for nurtureAdolescence as a stageWhite immigrant families (peak of immigration in late 19th/early 20th century)Sociology 120120th century and the rise of the companionate familyLess gender separation (e.g., my grandparents decision to sit together in church)More emphasis on emotional intimacy (beginning with middle and upper classes)Attention to female sexuality, again beginning with the middle and upper classesSociology 12011950s family (really, 1946-1965)Exception to longer trends of the 20th century (age at marriage, % who marry, birth rates, women in the workforce)A golden age?U.S. domination of the world economyPeak of unionization in U.S. Low death rates AND low divorce ratesSuburbs and family life… home ownershipRapid increase in college education (GI Bill)Sociology 1201What was less golden in the 1950s?Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique—”the problem that has no name”The sexual double standardHomosexuality as both a crime and a mental illnessThe high rate of teen pregnancyBattering and child abuse largely hiddenCan we define the “health” of society as a whole, apart from


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