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FAD 4265 Reading Guide for Test 1. ∙ Familiarity, mystification, sacredness, secrecy- as much as we want to be objective, our perceptions are guided by cultural visions of family, by our own family experiences, and, paradoxically, by the very familiarity of family life- everyone considers themselves to be an expert on their own family, yet we are too close to our families to see them dispassionately- mystification if the deliberate misdefinition of family matters or complicated stratagems to keep everyone in the dark- distorts family realities- we often misunderstand family processes in general and we even have misconceptions about our own families- objectivity is obscured by familiarity and mystification- families have myths, secrets, and information-processing rules that determine the kinds of communication that goes on- secrets occurring in the realm of interpersonal relationships can occur in any family, remain hidden for decades, and have unsettling, even destructive implications when they are revealed - the family is a sacred label with strong moral connotations; is also the most private of all society’s institutions- a family’s business is nobody’s but their own symbolizes “decency” and other cultural values we hold∙ Back stage/ front stage - backstage area is where people are free to act in ways they would not in public- much of the intimacy of family life remains hidden behind “front stage”- behavior to maintain a proper appearance in front of others- we have a backstage view of our own families, but we can judge others only in terms of their front stage presentations∙ Images of family- family as haven: refuge from an impersonal world characterized the family as a place of intimacy, love, and trust- glorification of private life- family was idealized as a repository of warmth and tenderness (mother) standing in opposition of the competitive and aggressive world of commerce (father)- protect against outside world- family as fulfillment: today, family is more contemporary than protective- intimacy: spouses, lovers and even children making us feel alive and invigorated; brightens up the social landscape - intensive parenting- large amounts of time spent interacting with children is seen as both critical to children’s development and intrinsically fulfilling to parents - family as encumbrance: we blame the family for inhibiting our full human development; freedom from domestic relationships- ex: workers escape demanding and stressful family relations by spending more time in the workplace and less time at home∙ SNAF- Standard North American Family, an ideological code that distorts family reality and glorifies the two-parent family model- social and economic forces make the ideal inaccessible to all, yet the two-parent family is the universally expected family form∙ Family Darwinism - blames families for structural failure; belief that the family survives or sinks by its own resources and fitness- ignores the harsh effect of economic conditions (poverty or near-poverty), unemployment and underemployment, and downward mobility or the threat of downward mobility and social inequalities∙ Feminization of poverty- the growing impoverishment of women and their children in the U.S society- there is a rise in mother-only households and poverty often accompanies them- vast majority of single-parent households are maintained by mothers- less than 50% of children in the U.S live in “traditional nuclear families”∙ Gendered institutions - there are gender differences in every aspect of family living, including decision making, household division of labor, and forms of intimacy and sexuality- ex: researchers who ask husbands and wives identical questions about their marriages often get quite different replies, even to fairly simple, factual questions∙ Themes of the structural diversity approach- families are socially constructed and historically changing- families vary by economic, political, and cultural conditions- what seems “natural” depends on time, place and circumstance and how family is defined depends on historical period, the society, and even the social stratum within that society- family diversity is produced by the same structures that organize society as a whole- the institution of family is intertwined with social institutions such as the economy, politics, education, and religion; also with systems of stratification and inequality such as class, race, and gender- the uneven distribution of work, wages, and other family requirements produce multiple family forms and experiences- not only do power relations determine the resources different groups have available for family life, but “there is a direct relationship between the privileged circumstances of some families and the disadvantaged position of other families”- families are embedded in and shaped by interconnected systems of class, race, and gender- not only do race, class, and gender shape families in different ways, their linkages mean that people of the same race may experience family differently depending on their location in class structure as unplowed, poor, working-class, or professional; their location in the gender structure as male or female; and their location in the sexual orientation as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual- family diversity is constructed through social structure as well as the actions of family members- although society and its structures are powerful, human beings are not simply the product of structural forces; even in social locations characterized by limited resources, family members can find ways of adapting and thriving- family members are not passive, but actively shape their family - understanding families means challenging monolithic ideas that conceive of the family in idealistic ways- today, the family field takes various standpoints into account and several bodies of scholarship by and about marginalized groups are documenting multiple family realities- new scholarship about families as they vary by class, race, gender, and sexuality offers powerful alternatives to the old paradigm- feminists representing different schools of thought along with various racial and ethnic groups, members of the working class, and lesbians and gays have pressed for redefinition of “the family”∙ Human agency - women, men, and children actively shape their families by adapting to, and changing, certain aspects of their social environments-

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FSU FAD 4265 - Reading Guide for Test 1

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