Week 5: Reading Sociology Part 5

Estimated Reading Time 00:05:05

Reading Sociology

Part 5: Families

Chapter 18: The More Things Change… the More We Need Child Care: On the Fortieth Anniversary of the Report on the Royal Commission on the Status of Women
by Patrizia Albanese

Four principles of the Royal Commission:

  • that women should be free to choose whether or not to take employment outside their homes;
  • that the care of children is a responsibility to be shared by the mother, the father, and society;
  • that society has a responsibility for women because of pregnancy and child birth, and special treatment related to maternity will always be necessary; and
  • that in certain areas women will for an interim time require special treatment to overcome the adverse effects of discriminatory practices

These recommendations are never put into action.

Albanese’s position:

  • Women nowadays have it so hard. Women need more affordable childcare to be able to balance work and child care effectively.
  • Stephen Harper sucks since he doesn’t support an affordable childcare plan.
  • According to UNICEF’s 2008 study, Canada ranked at the very bottom of the 25 developed countries in terms of accessibility of early childhood education programs.
  • Quebec is so good; it offers $7 a day reliable childcare. It’s a lifesaver for women!

Notable quotes:

The child care situation is miserable in this country, especially outside of Quebec. After 40 years, now more than ever, we need an affordable, flexible, high-quality national child care strategy. This would assist women in their choices and access to paid work, and in their ability to fulfill their own and their family’s well-being.

Patrizia Albanese

Chapter 19: Keeping the Family Intact: The Lived Experience of Sheltered Homeless Families
by Annette Tézli

Explores lived experience of homeless families sheltered at the Emergency Family Shelter (EFS) in Calgary, with ethnographic data relying on participant observation (i.e. stalking) and interviews with guests, staff, and board members.
On a side note some of the quotations are actually quite moving. Many participants wouldn’t have made it without their partners. Adversity has made them strong.
People couldn’t afford housing due to high rents.

Basically a restatement of common sense. Is there really anything to summarize here?

Notable quotes (pretty much sums up the whole chapter):

Shelterization may serve to keep together families that otherwise might have separated; and it may cause tensions that break apart families that otherwise might have stayed together.

Annette Tézli

She says nothing at all with that quote! Gee, is it easy to become a sociologist these days.

Chapter 20: Love and Arranged Marriage in India Today: Negotiating Adulthood
by Nancy S. Netting

General ideas:

  • Modernization theory predicts that Indian youth would oppose arranged marriage.
  • Neo-traditionalism predicts that Indian youth would support it.
  • Indian arranged marriage (in the perspective of 30 middle-class interviewees) has qualitatively changed. Young people can veto and have choice to some extent. Ideals such as romantic love has become an important value.
  • Young people want to create an intimate space where emotion, sexuality, ideas, and needs could safely be expressed, which is difficult with the patrilocal multigenerational families in India.

Notable quotes:

The prevailing tone expressed by Indian youth approaching marriage is not one of defiance or rebellion, but of conscious attention to their own needs and empathy for those of their parents. They do not want to abandon a cherished home, but to renovate it to accommodate modern requirements. Freer communication between generations, based on respect and trust, as well as assured space for intimacy between marriage partners, are key goals to be achieved.

Nancy S. Netting

Chapter 21: Gender Equality and Gender Differences: Parenting, Habitus, and Embodiment (the 2008 Porter Lecture)
by Andrea Doucet

Feminists want gender equality on one hand yet some of them deny that “men can mother” ie. fill the role as a mother in the development of a child. Gee they are hard to please.

  • Maternal demands — “preservation, growth, and social acceptability” — not only as demands but also emotional, communal, and moral responsibilities.
  • Emotional responsibility: you need to be able to emphasize — know about others’ needs — to care for others.
    • Three forms for men to connect with their children: 1) play2) go out and do sports together, and 3) promote their children’s independence.
  • Community responsibility: you need to coordinate and balance others who will be involved in your children’s lives. One obvious way is to talk to other parents as your children are playing in the field.
    • Two other ways for men to form networks: 1) connect with other stay-at-home mothers, and 2) network around their children’s sports.
  • Moral responsibility: traditionally men go out and break their backs labouring. What do stay-at-home dads make of that? They are also stereotyped to be lesser carers than women. Things get particularly awkward if you are a single dad and you have a teenage girl whose bunch of girl friends are staying over at your house tonight. Behave yourself and don’t get labelled as a child predator, man.
  • Reasons for gendered differences in parenting: hegemonic masculinities, embodiment, maternal gatekeeping, gendered friendship patterns, habitus, and gender ideologies.
  • Habitus: having “grown up as a girl” or “grown up as a boy” has bearings to how parents parent their own children.
  • Embodiment: a mother can hug and kiss her teenage boy all she wants. But a father that hugs and kisses his teenage girl? Uhhhhh…

Five concluding points:

  1. The issue of responsibility is the one area where gendered differences persisted.
  2. The view that gender differences are bad may need to be reexamined.
  3. When father takes care of a child don’t apply your gyno-centric views because it is prejudiced.
  4. I presented some views here but you need to take into account differences in class, ethnicity, and sexuality kk?
  5. Why do we differentiate between mothering and fathering in the first place? They are one and the same (kind of).

Notable quotes:

One of the main conclusions emanating from my research on gender equality and gender differences in parenting is that, rather than using a maternal lens and comparing fathers to mothers, what is required are novel ways of listening to and theorizing about fathers’ approaches to parental responsibilities and how they are radically reinventing what it means to be a man and a father in the 21st century.

Andrea Doucet

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Week 5: Reading Sociology Part 3

Estimated Reading Time 00:05:30

Reading Sociology

Part 3: Socialization

Chapter 10: Online Interactions among Men Who Have Sex with Men: Situated Performances and Sexual Education
by Anthony P. Lombardo

This article draws upon Erving Goffman’s notion of “presentation of self“. Researched 23 MSM in the GTA. In the article it also mentioned lots of online-sex websites for anyone interested in this stuff.

Research on men who have sex with men (MSM):

  • Quantitative: risk behaviours among MSM who do and do not seek sex online
  • Qualitative: how men use the Internet in their sexual lives for learning about gay culture and social networking, and their experiences seeking sex online.

Lombardo’s Findings:

  1. Men learn to give “legitimate performances” of self – “presentation of self” appropriate to a given online setting.
  2. Online sex gives possibilities for men to portray numerous and diverse “selves”, each on appropriate to a particular setting.
  3. Goffman’s concepts of “given” and “given off”: just like the heterosexual dating game, you need to present yourself carefully and read the signs of your potential partners carefully.
  4. Online interactions come to be a conduit for sexual education. (Well, schools only teach about heterosexual sex).

Notable Quotes:

Men’s online presentations of selves and interactions were thus “situated” within certain online norms, which the men came to learn as a function of their experiences online.

Anthony P. Lombardo

Chapter 11: The Ecology of College Drinking: Revisiting the Role of the Campus Environment on Students’ Drinking Patterns
by Nancy Beauregard, Andrée Demers, and Louis Gliksman

This article’s technical material is difficult to understand without at least two years of background in statistics. Do they really expect froshies to know what an “estimation of multilevel logistic regressions model parameters relying iterative generalized least squares using a predictive quasi-likelihood method with second order Taylor expansion (PQL02)” is?
Unrelated note: Beauregard == “good looks” in French.


  • Anchored in social practice theory. (More specifically, social norms theory).
  • Subjective perception: your own perception
  • Collective perception: present when social norms are shared by a given group of students exposed to the same normative environment.
  • Drinking is a life choice, made available by life chance.
  • Anthony Gidden’s work: drinking — or any human activity — is comprised of three specific modalities: 1) normative (peer pressure), 2) political (alcohol policies control), and 3) semantic (assumptions about drinking; e.g. 19 shots for my 19th birthday? it’s no biggie).
  • Risk factor: a variable associated with an increased risk of disease (in this case, drinking).


  • Normative: collective but not subjective measures (ie. social acceptance based on drinking) emerged as risk factors.
  • Political: greater risk of drinking when regulations were more strictly enforced.
  • Semantic: no collective effects were found. Individual perceptions that drinking is a meaningful practice and a necessary part of campus life lead students to drink.

Notable quotes:

Research question 1: What is the nature of the pathways characterizing the association between alcohol-related practices on campus and students’ drinking patterns?

Research question 2: Do alcohol-related practices on campus shape students’ drinking patterns from a subjective or a collective level of analysis?

Nancy Beauregard, Andrée Demers, and Louis Gliksman

Chapter 12: Duality and Diversity in the Lives of Immigrant Children: Rethinking the “problem of the Second Generation” in Light of Immigrant Autobiographies
by Nedim Karakayali

Social statistician Richmond Mayo-Smith:

  • Three categories of “whites” in America (in 1894):
    • Native-born of native parentage
    • Foreign immigrants
    • Native-born of foreign immigrants (second-generation)
  • Second-gen immigrants represent “assimilation in the act”


  • Examines two-worlds thesis, focusing on duality, by studying autobiographies
  • People commonly believe that immigrant children are split between two worlds (two-world thesis), but this is not true. In fact second-gens live in many more worlds, with often shifting family dynamics, and dreams to escape this terrible duality that society has been forcing onto them.

Notable Quotes:

The real problem with the two-worlds thesis is not its argument that immigrant children feel caught between two worlds, but its failure to note that this experience follows from the condition of living in a world where most people believe that there are only two worlds. Moreover, to state […] that all the “woes” of immigrant children can be located in the “duality into which they were born” is to miss the point that there is also a desire to escape this duality–a desire for a new identity. The actualization of this desire is no less a “problem” than the experience of being caught up between two worlds.

Nedim Karakayali

Chapter 13: “Even If I Don’t Know What I’m Doing, I Can Make It Look Like I Know What I’m Doing”: Becoming a Doctor in the 1990s
by Brenda L. Beagan

What processes of socialization goes into the making of a doctor?

  • You get used to being treated as a doctor, simply through repetition.
  • They ingrain into you the habit of dressing neatly and professionally.
  • You learn the language of medicine, which “constructs a new social reality”.
  • You are now part of the medical hierarchy and do not question your boss (as long as there’s no direct harm done to a patient).
  • You exercise power over your patients, and you try to avoid overidentifying with them, so that you can make sound, rational judgments.
  • Even though you learn a lot in med school, the real world is still more complicated. Sometimes you just don’t know if a patient is going to make it out OK. But you learn to exude a sense of confidence and know-it-all, and you learn to handle uncertainties of the real world.
  • You receive confirmation of your own identity from your patients, who respect you and listen to everything you have to say.


  • Being a doctor is time- and energy-consuming. After a long day of work, when you go home, do you still have enough energy to play with your kids? Can you still comfort your best friend going through a tough time if you have 16-hour shifts? If you have to cancel a date due to emergency call, does that really make you a good spouse?

Can you resist this socialization?

  • Those most able to resist socialization minimized contact with those in medicine and maintained outside relationships. Also tend to have a strong sense of identity prior to med school.

Notable quotes:

The basic processes of socializing new members into the profession of medicine remain remarkably similar, as students encounter new social norms, a new language, new thought processes, and a new world view that will eventually enable them to become full-fledged members of “the team”, taking the expected role in the medical hierarchy.

Brenda L. Beagan

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Week 5 Lecture Notes – Starting Points Ch. 11

Estimated Reading Time 00:10:11

Lecture 04

Families and socialization

“Did you enjoy the test? Was it good? Well it was character building.” -Teppy

Finally we’ll start social institutions!

2 Types of Families Defined
Nuclear family
-typically associated with industrialized society
-fairly small, inward-looking group of people
Extended family
-typically associated with preindustrial societies
-families in a single household with multiple generations

“What’s really interesting is the transition from extended families to nuclear families.” -Teppy

Study by William Goode.
What we’ve seen in the past 100 years: total change in dominant pattern of family life in Western world.

“What you’d see is a gradual convergence of family forms. Family everywhere is moving in this direction. And of course the question is ‘Why?'” -Teppy

*Major worldwide trends*:
1.Consumption patterns: self-sustaining
-Households and family life become insulated as compared to previous family models.

2.Universal trend toward reduced fertilities
-Smaller family sizes. Thanks to condoms!

3.Change in relationships between parents and children
-authority of parents have declined (no need for inheritance)
-families can’t control your access to income anymore.
-lack of financial control leads to total lack of control.
-reduction of patriarchy

4.Changing norms in interpersonal relations
-Increased acceptance of divorce, contraception, cohabitation, premarital sex, etc.

“And this is happening all over the world!” – Teppy
“It’s not that they don’t exist in preindustrial times. But the significant thing is that they have become part of our culture. Part of our norms.” – Teppy

Why these changes?
“How do you understand premarital sex?” -Teppy

Analysis of Goode:
1.Smaller families are more flexible. Families are fairly light and flexible in order to meet the needs of an industrial society.
2.More education for women. Women start challenging men for good jobs.
3.Changes in family form vary: are mediated by cultural and social conditions.

Basic Family Processes
Families, no matter what form or definition, share expected social processes
1.Dependency and Intimacy
Family members are intimate with and dependent on one another.
Intimacy != sex!
Intimacy == exposing your vulnerabilities, etc.
Of course all of these is relative. You’re more likely to go to your mom/dad for help than asking the dude sitting beside you in SOC103 for help.
2.Regulated sexuality
“Typically we expect that *some* members in the family that are having sex with each other. But we’d also expect that *some other members* in a family are *not* having sex with each other.” -Teppy
3.Routine protection
Families prevent bad things from happening to each other.
4.Unequal power
“A family is *rarely* an egalitarian unit.” -Teppy
Parents usually have more power than the children.

“I’m not interested in the legal definition of family. That’s largely irrelevant. I think it’s much more useful if we think about the family not in a legal definition, but in terms of its processes. I say that any group that meets these criteria is a family.” -Teppy

Family Troubles Are Common
Every family has problems! Some have more problems than others.
Families under the greatest stress are most likely to descend into conflict. Domestic violence are not unfamiliar.

Cohesive and Adaptable Families Do Best
Cohesive – members have strong identification with the family as a whole, and with one another.
Adaptable – members are more able to plan and make changes.
^Some traits of these families
1.Have open patterns of communication.
2.Use fair procedures to resolve conflicts
3.Use fair, *even* democratic processes for setting goals
“You can be fair without being democratic.” – Teppy
4.Family culture and ritual ties everyone together.
“I’m talking about a family that actively maintain and develop its culture.” – Teppy

e.g. family with drug addict.
Some families will never talk about this.
“Whenever you got deep secrets of a bad kind, the problems multiply. That’s not going to be a good family.” -Teppy

Two Types of Socialization Defined
Socialization = Primary Socialization + Secondary Socialization
Socialization is a lifelong social learning.
Primary socialization
-takes place in the early years of a person’s life
-fundamental, diffuse, and imposed.
“We’re talking about kids that are completely dependent (economically or otherwise) upon their parents. And their parents kind of have this unparalleled opportunity to shape them. To mould them. For better or for worse.” -Teppy
Secondary socialization
-after childhood
-specific and voluntary
-e.g. occupational socialization

Socialization is lifelong, but early socialization is critical
-One thing that can be said with certainty about socialization is that it goes on for a lifetime.
Primary + Secondary + Anticipatory + Resocialization
Complete overhaul of your personality.
“It really strips your down and moulds you back again.” -Teppy

Through Good Socialization, People Learn to
-obey social rules
-complete school
-earn a living
-sustain close relations
-raise children themselves

“You may think that you are all cool and badass and stuff. But the fact is that you are all sitting here quietly and taking notes. That tells me that you’ve learned obedience. So what can I say? Somebody’s done their job.” -Teppy

People Learn to Make Between I and ME.
Theory by Mead.
I – refers to internal processes
ME – refers to external ones.
The “ME” is what is learned in interaction with others and the environment.
Other people’s attitudes, internalized in the self, constitute the ME.

“The ‘I’ is looking at the ‘ME’.” -Teppy
“It’s a strange experience! Sometimes when you are talking don’t you feel like there’s another ‘you’ floating above yourself saying ‘What the heck is this guy saying?!'” -Teppy

“If you take a Freudian approach — and I don’t mean sex — perhaps you’d gain some insight.” -Teppy

Another Early Step is the Learning of Gender Through Socialization.
-In the process of gender socialization, boys are typically given freedom, while girls are protected from harm.
-e.g. boys are usually given more freedom and girls are more protected from harm.

Soon, Children Are Learning Impersonal Obedience in Schools
-As part of the school’s “hidden curriculum”, children are supposed to learn punctuality, conformity, and obedience.
-The plan is not actually teaching you how to origami or paint with crayons but rather teach you obedience!
-Kindergarten == bootcamp?!
IS THIS THE HIDDEN PURPOSE OF U OF T !?!??!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?
Actual curriculum in business schools: teach you how to dress.

**”For example in Yale, there’s a wine tasting class.” -Teppy**

Different institutions have different focuses. e.g. IBM would want you to be a team player. U of T really doesn’t care one way or another.

Direct vs. Indirect (or Reactive) Socialization
-imprinting of social patterns on blank plates
Direct socialization: intended result of
“Kids are really good imitators. We will reward the good behaviour, and punish the bad behaviour. And we’ll end up with someone we wanted them to be.” – Teppy
-modelling and imitation,
-rewards for good behaviour
-punishments for bad behaviour

Indirect or reactive socialization:
“I’ve *actually* spent some time studying these.” -Teppy
“I’m really interested in bad parenting. As you might have guessed.” -Teppy
-abuse or neglect
-excessive punishment
-inconsistent parenting
“Something that I’ve become very interested in lately.” -Teppy
“Relatively understudied.” -Teppy
Basically: child becomes parent, parent becomes child.
e.g. Imagine you’re a 6 year old kid. And your father is an alcoholic. Your father wants you to clean up his mess and make him dinner.
So child takes on roles of parent. Can be emotional as well.

If a kid is put in that position, he’s likely not gonna do well.

Consequences of parentification
-Intense Anger: parentified children will have a love-hate relationship with their parent
-Difficulty with Adult Attachments: Parentified children, as adults, will have trouble connecting with friends, spouse, and children.
-trouble experiencing healthy intimacy in relationships.

Parenting Styles Make a Difference
The best parenting is authoritative: loving but firm
-some parents reason with their children — this is best
-others use treats or violence
-threats and violence do not predictably achieve the desired results and often achieve undesired results

“This is what research in the West suggest about the best parenting. We don’t know that much about parenting in the East.” -Teppy

Bad and Good Parenting in a Western Individualistic Culture like Canada:
-Power assertion
-Love withdrawal (guilt trip) (tiger mom)
-Inductive: teaching by example; teaching by reason
-Looking for teaching moments: misbehaviour can be used as good “case studies”

(Diane) Baumrind’s Four Parenting Styles:
Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive, Neglectful
(refer to picture)
-Research show that the most effective parenting strategy is authoritative, based on high demands and high responsiveness.
May work differently in non-western countries.

(Not that much research on it in non-Western societies.)
This one guy from Israel suggests that authoritarian parenting may not be as bad as it seems.
“I think he’s fudging the results.” -Teppy

What Do Parents Actually Do?
The average employed parent (age 25-64) devotes 1 hour per day (on average) caring for children and others.

Much of What Parents Do Is Indirect
Peers are important too.
But parents are much more influential in the long run. e.g. drug use — through family control of peer associations

Common Consequences of Bad Parenting
-Emotional Difficulties

Is There a Universally Best

New Chinese Study Supports North American Findings…
“Pretty much confirming what I said.” -Teppy

Love and Punishment Matter.
-Results show that children in poor or conflict ridden families tend to act out more than other children (i.e., externalize problems).
-But they do so only if the parents are cold..

Warm is good! Punishment bad.
High levels of parental warmth produce fewer externalizing problems.

Consistent with Earlier Research

Predicts Externalizing Problems, not Internalizing Problems
-when kids are in the situation where there’s a lot of conflict they tend to externalize problems.
-but doesn’t really deal with depression, etc.

Why do some people commit antisocial or deviant act?
1.Shifting/uncertain rules
2.Impossible-to-follow rules
4.Faulty socializtion

Theories of faulty socialization
-theories of trauma and neglect
e.g. parentification is harmful
-theories of attachment
e.g. insecure attachement is harmful
-theories of weak social control
e.g. inadequate.. is harmful

Authoritarian Personality.
Theodor Adorno et al. (member of Frankfurt school of sociology)
-purpose: discover the roots of anti-Semitism
-measured authoritarianism with an “F-scale” (F for fascism)
-conclusion: racism and anti-Semitism associated with fascist tendencies

9 Characteristics
2.Authoritarian Submission
3.Authoritarian Aggression
(That was 3)

Prejudice is a generalized tendency among authoritarian personalities
Prejudice is linked to political and social conservatism
Prejudice is related to a wide range of personal beliefs

Harsh Parenting Unintentionally Produces Authoritarian Children
Parents that:
-Demand unquestioning obedience
-Provide limited affection and respect
-Force the child to displace his/her anger on to “safe” targets
e.g. vulnerable people
-Force the child to sublimate his/her anger in fantasy objects or pointless, repetitive behaviour (ritual, convention)

Another Theory of Faulty Socialization, The Role of Trauma, Stress, and Poor Coping
“My own research (for about 13 years now).” -Teppy
Our 2010 study explored the transmission of problem gambling from parent to child, through a combination of
a) Childhood social learning – direct socialization
b) Childhood distress or trauma – indirect socialization
c) Current stresses and poor coping and supports

Proposed Influences on the Familial Transmission of Problem Gambling
(see picture)

Face-to-Face Interviews
We interviewed 200 adults, 150 of them with a gambling problem
-45 minute self-administered survey
-1 hour open-ended interview
even in the absence of direct socialization…
Gambling addiction results from the combination of
-Childhood trauma
-Adult stress
-Poor Adult coping
50 of each category, and 50 for control group.

The Dostoevsky Case: Direct Socialization Was Not Needed
“He’s probably the world’s most famous problem gambler.” -Teppy
-Freud’s written about him!
-Born in 1821
-His father, a depressed alcoholic, was NOT apparently a gambler
-Fyodor and his siblings were subject to rigid and cold treatment
-In early and middle life, Fyodor embraced a variety of extreme causes, including radical politics

“He was crazy about gambling! He even lost his newly-wed’s wedding gown on their honeymoon.” -Teppy

“His father was a real tyrant. Authoritarian! Gave him a ‘tiger dad’ sort of thing.” -Teppy

-arrested and imprisoned in Siberia
-frail physical help
-all sorts of causes
-poor coping skills
-at age of 50, he becomes a gambling maniac

His addiction lasted about 10 years.

“The Dostoevsky Effect” – by Lorne Tepperman.

Week 5 – Starting Points Ch. 11

Estimated Reading Time 00:16:36

Starting Points

Families and Socialization

Families teach children rules, and children grow up and form families to pass those rules on. It’s a circle! Today there are a lot of different types of families. But which type is the best? Are you ready to make babies? And be a parent?

Family is fluid and malleable, but also basic and necessary. It’s the primary unit (quantum) of society. Today norms about what constitutes a “family” are changing, and this causes confusion. e.g. polygamy; divorce.

Though families have changed and diversified, they retain one characteristic: families are agents of socialization. Our parents teach us how to behave — and our first years are most formative. e.g. We need to learn to share! And to realize that our desires can’t be satisfied all the time. And to learn to care for others. etc.



Family is the central institution in society. It’s a microcosm for society, with each family member contributing to a unified whole. Kind of like what an H2O molecule is to water. Or a cell is to an organ. Or a byte is to digital data.
So, changes in family mirror changes in society.

In modern industrial societies, family life is complicated. Socialization is the manufacture of new citizens, and it’s complex. Talcott Parsons and Robert Bales (1955) view family’s division of labour as its key to success.
i.e. Husband keeps food on the table, make decisions (instrumental)
Wife nurtures and is the emotional centre (expressive)
Through this specialization, families are effective at satisfying physical and emotional needs of its members, and socializing children. Of course that was the 50s and the times they are a-changin’ so it doesn’t apply as much now.

Are some family forms “natural” or “inevitable”? Psychiatrists Ronald Immerman and Wade Mackey (1999) say yes. They argue that almost all marriage systems in the world support monogamy. Monogamy is favourable because it limits STDs, out-of-wedlock births, infant morbidity, etc. So monogamous societies tend to function better than communities that do not maintain pair bonding. So monogamy is functional.

Linda Waite (2000) argues cohabitation is inferior to traditional (legal) marriage. (Guess she doesn’t want to Waite for a proposal any longer! Ha ha!) Cohabitation fails to provide the economic and psychological benefits, such as access to extended families, and provides less support in crisis. So she thinks that married monogamy contribute to the survival of society.

Critical Theories

Critical theories don’t look for no universal truths about family life, or support certain forms of families neither. Rather, they take a historical approach and look at changes in family life.

With industrialization, families went from self-sustaining (farmers) to consumption units (dual-income households that purchase goods and services). They become dependent on external sources of income.
Implication? Men had to sell their labour while women gained exclusive control over (were relegated to) the household — sometimes called social reproduction.

But women took care of the household without $$$$! This specialization only increases gender inequality, under conditions of exploitive capitalism.
Feminists: just as workers depend on capitalists, wives depend on husbands. Such dependence easily turns into subordination!

Patriarchal tendencies were old and pre-industrial, but industrialization affirmed them. These tendencies are especially strong in traditional communities, industrial or pre-industrial.
But some women in traditional communities are turning feminist too. e.g. evangelical feminists say evangelism is “a strategic form of women collective action”. But single mothers, working mothers, bisexuals, or lesbians are excluded.

Symbolic Interactionism

Focus on micro level. Ways members of a family interact and resolve conflicts. Social constructionists focus on “family values” by right-wing religious leaders + politicians. By appealing to people’s concern for their family, they channel common anxieties into hostility against single mothers, LGBTQ, etc. Republicans. Use traditional ideologies to hurt vulnerable families instead of supporting them. Produces dangerous citizens of tomorrow due to poor socialization.


Two main views: functionalist vs. symbolic interactionist.

Socialization occurs top down: children internalize social norm and conform. Talcott Parsons described this in Family, Socialization, and Interaction Process (1955). Parsons says top-down learning is necessary for society, because it creates conformity and consensus. Ideal society characterized by social integration, with homogenized values, etc (∫ ds = const).

Criticism: People may not be completely shaped by norms and expectations. Dennis Wrong (1961) says Parsons is Wrong. Parsons’s view may be “over-socialized”. Feminists also don’t like this view — it justifies the socialization differences between man and women, and by extension, differences in socioeconomic statuses. Why aren’t there more women in engineering?
Adomo et al (1950) say that top-down socialization may be effective at homogenization, but it also produces anger, prejudice, racism, homophobia, etc.
Also what about socialization from bottom up? (i.e. children teaching themselves and each other?)

Symbolic Interactionists:
Most accepted view of socialization, by Charles H. Cooley and George Herbert Mead. Notes that people participate in their own socialization. How does a child develop its sense of self, and how does family help/hinder this development?

Parents try to train child top-down, with language, punishment, etc. But child also evaluates itself according to others — looking-glass self by Cooley. The reaction of others is important. But how important? Depends on our self-awareness and importance we attach to various reference groups.

Mead believed self-concept was made up of the I and the me. The I is our spontaneous, creative, unique self; the me is the self we develop for social purposes. (We put on a mask sometimes.) e.g. you may sing songs in your shower but not on subway, for example.
(Mead may be right, but a shower also has much better acoustics than what you can find on TTC.)

Mead: playground is one key public setting. Children has opportunity to practice socially learned roles and expectations. Through play and interaction children develop concept of generalized other — notion of attitudes and expectations of society at large. The reason you don’t strip in public is probably due to this generalized other. This helps us act in a socially approved manner.

Classic Studies: World Revolution and Family Patterns

William Goode is a Goode sociologist and is Goode at tracing family patterns. Goode looked at relationship between changing family patterns and industrialization.

Family patterns everywhere are moving towards nuclear family model. (Though rate of change is not uniformly distributed, ∇(∂F/∂t)≠0) Families are getting small — a self-sustaining unit of production and consumption. Individual family members have more freedom; parental authority has declined; husband’s control over wives dwindled; dowries disappearing everywhere.

Industrialization and urbanization encourage smaller, more flexible family units, to meet industrial changes. e.g. they can migrate more easily. But of course there are still “barriers” such as housework or child care. Sometimes nuclear families emerge before industrialization; sometimes extended families persist after industrialization.

Goode’s work is Goode (significant) because it attempts to ambitiously define laws of family change under industrialism and because of its global scale. Goode predicted that industrial growth and education would alter women’s roles.

Some stats: (In 2006)
-As Goode “might have” predicted (the heck is this supposed to mean?) Canada’s families are increasingly diverse: nuclear families + cohabiting + single-parent + … In 2006 married couple accounted for 69 percent of all census families — decreased from 83% two decades ago.
(69 should be an easy number to remember right?)
-In 2006 number of unmarried Canadians aged 15+ outnumbered number of legally married couple. 52% (now) vs. 39% (before).
-Same-sex couples represent 0.6% of all couples in Canada. 16.5% of these were married. More men couples than women couples. Half of these live in MTV (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver).
-Single-parent families increased from 11% to 16%.
-Cohabitation from 6% to 15%.

The Idea of “Family”

Is the family in trouble? Are people turning away from responsibilities of marriage and parenthood? Public polls still show that family is important to Canadians. In fact most still believe in a nuclear family ideal. Why? Let’s look at functionalism.

Functionalists consider family to be a social institution with one preferred structure that meets the most societal demands. They seemingly ignore the fact that a variety of family forms can satisfy need for love, attachment, and understanding among members. So nontraditional families — cohabiting, non-nuclear, etc. — are important too. e.g. modified extended family. Relatives don’t share a household but live close to each other.

Census family is a broader definition of family. But the textbook says it’s still not broad enough. Because
1) many units that meet structural definition do not behave like ideal families and
2) many units that behave like ideal families do not meet structural definition.
(Form or function?)

So let’s talk about family processes instead of forms:

  • Dependency and intimacy: long term commitment & attachment to each other and to family as a social unit.
  • Sexuality: long term exclusive sexual relationship. Do it with your spouse only!
  • Protection: guard each other against all kinds of dangers. e.g. keep kids away from drugs. Take a bullet for your wife.
  • Power: the more powerful members protect the less powerful ones. May contribute to patriarchy though. (So if you protect your girlfriend/wife don’t rub it all in her face; you are simply following through the sacred duty of a man.)
  • Violence: families are also often marked by violence. Usually it’s when a male assaults a female. Not ideal but sadly true.


Socialization. One universal feature of family life. Through childhood and adolescence people experience a very intense primary socialization. Then they go on to live their lives and undergo secondary socialization.

Primary socialization usually takes place within the family context. Helps form personality and charts course of personal development. Child learns social skills. Parent are important because they are the first people a child interacts socially with. They also control child’s learning environment.

Primary socialization is interesting to both macro- and microsociologists.
Macro: primary socialization integrates people into society, teaching them to fulfill societal roles. Humans are tabula rasa. Through this teaching and imprinting, society is able to reproduce itself into the future. But this also perpetuates inequality.
Micro: study how socialization forms people’s concept of self.

Secondary socialization is less fundamental. Involves learning specific roles, norms, attitudes, beliefs, etc. e.g. We know how to be a parent only when we become one. Occurs outside of family and is based on knowledge accumulated in primary socialization. When we prepare to enter a role, we engage in anticipatory socialization. e.g. in med school, you also learn about how to behave as a doctor socially.
e.g. frosh week; employee orientation; prenatal parenting, etc.
Some other times though, we don’t have a chance for anticipatory socialization if we get fired. Then we’d need to improvise.
(Pre-death orientation would be nice.)

Sometimes we want to become a “new person” through resocialization.
e.g. job-training; grief counselling; soul-searching.
Erving Goffman describes total institutions to resocialize their clients drastically through surveillance and punishment.
e.g. asylum, monastery, boot camp, etc.

Classic Studies: The Authoritarian Personality

Where do violence and prejudice come from? Social isolation — according to Theodor Adorno, who Adorno’ed himself with honour after his work is published in 1950. Socio-psychological model that centres on individual personality traits and childhood socialization experiences.
Findings: faulty socialization -> overt racism, etc.
Adorno measured “authoritarianism” using an “F-scale”. F for fun! No not really. F for fascism. The antithesis of fun.

Adorno identified nine characteristics of the authoritarian personality using his F-scale:

  1. Conventionalism: rigid adherence to conventional middle-class values;
  2. Authoritarian submission: submissive, uncritical attitude to idealized moral authorities in group;
  3. Authoritarian aggression: tendency to be on lookout for and condemn people who violate conventional values;
  4. Anti-intraception: objection to tenderness or the imaginative;
  5. Superstition and stereotyping: (self-explanatory);
  6. Power and “toughness”: preoccupation with dominance; exaggerated assertion of strength;
  7. Destructiveness and cynicism: generalized hostility; vilification of the human;
  8. Projectivity: belief in wild and dangerous things going on in the world; projection of outward unconscious emotional impulses;
  9. Preoccupation with sexual goings-on: exaggerates penis size. (Okay not exactly but close. Exaggerates sexual occurrences and practices.)

Summarize: 1) Prejudice is a generalized tendency — people who hate Jews also tend to hate other minorities. 2) Prejudice is linked to political and social conservatism — opposing social welfare, etc. 3) Prejudice is related to a variety of personal beliefs (superstition, fatalism, etc.) and to anti-introspection.

A bully grows up in a family where people do not inspect or reveal their feelings. A bully may glorify his parents to hide his insecurities. A non-bully is more accustomed to expressing disagreements — starting with arguing with his parents, based on secure and warm relationships.
A bully attributes his insecurities to others through a Freudian process, projection.

Aside: Freudian theory of repression. People who are forced by cruel (or unfeeling) parents to hide their fears and desires express them in veiled ways, such as in dreams, fantasies, and groundless anxieties.

Criticism: methodological flaws and researcher bias. Tamotsu Shibutani notes that study is more psychological than sociological.

Generally, families which are more cohesive and adaptable tends to deal with social stresses better.

Gender Socialization

Sociologists view the development of socially recognizable gender differences as a main social phenomenon. Though sometimes parents reinforce gender socialization (“Boys don’t cry.”), most of the time it’s unintended. e.g. Toy packaging, TV ads, etc.

Racial and Ethnic Socialization

This includes all of the ways parents shape their children’s learning and understanding of race and race relationships.

Class Socialization

Parents communicate about their life experiences and feelings about their place in society. Children learn the social hierarchy. This socialization affects the children’s future goals and aspirations.
e.g. independent thinking and hard work vs. luck and charm?

Children who are taught that hard work is irrelevant, school is a waste of time, and all that counts is who you know, not what you know are less likely to succeed. As Thorstein Veblen notes: the poorest and the richest members of society are similar — neither is part of the contest for success.

Values like ambition, responsibility, and independence are transformative. They are means by which (middle-class) families prepare their children for adulthood. Middle-class prefers cultivation, with enrichment lessons. The poor and the rich prefer natural growth.

But of course, your values may change significantly during adolescence.


Hochschild says that ally the ways humans feel and express emotions are largely social. We are taught what to feel by culture. We follow “feeling rules” as much as other rules of behaviour. We try to be happy at a party or sad at a funeral, and wonder if we are normal if we can’t summon the appropriate feelings.

I told her Mother had died. She wanted to know how long ago, so I said, “Yesterday.” She gave a little start but didn’t say anything. I felt like telling her it wasn’t my fault, but I stopped myself because I remembered that I’d already said that to my boss. It didn’t mean anything. Besides, you always feel a little guilty.

– A. Camus, L’Étranger

Theory of “emotional labour” — work one must do to develop the “right” emotions for themselves. Emotions are commodified. e.g. Sales; flight attendants in The Managed Heart (1983).
Also focuses on division of emotional and physical work in modern families (with a working wife) in The Second Shift (1989).
Also interviewed Fortune 500 people to see how their work lives compare with their family lives in The Time Bind (1997). Though most CEOs say they value family, for many people the workplace culture provides a better sense of community, appreciation, support, and competence than home.

Melissa Milkie et al. (2009) used Hochsschild’s concept of the “second shift” to study employment and domestic workloads of mothers with full-time jobs whose partners also worked full-time. Total workload of these women — “focal mothers” — exceeds their partner by 10 days a year. They are slightly more pressured, though not by much.

Sayer et al (2009) did a similar study, found little difference. Uhde (2009) looked at social inequality with caregivers. Uhde sees a need to recognize and ensure justice for the many immigrant women caregivers.
Mitsuhashi (2008) studied emotional burnout in Japanese care workers, finds that burnout most likely to happen when workers are unable to do emotional work, rather than when they actually do it.
Hansen and Andersen (2008) explore what influences a person’s decision to work when sick. Sickness presence vs. sickness absence. They found that supervisors, people working long hours, and people in small convivial companies are prone to sickness presence (duh).
Brook (2009) takes Hothschild’s position further, saying commodification of emotions leads to exploitation.
Ozkaplan (2009) says the study of care labour — especially emotional labour — can be considered a sociology of women’s work.
Hesmondhalgh and Baker (2008) researches how television program research team deals with stress and handles emotions.
Blakely (2008) looks at emotional aspects of a different kind of work — e.g. wedding planning.

A lot of buzz on Hochschild. She belongs to the fusion approach!

New Insights

Modern Family
Mann and Barnard (2002) notes debate about modern families, especially family stability. One side says diversity is a threat. One side says oh no it’s fine. Mann and Barnard say that too many texts present little or no coverage about this diversity and how it will change us.

Hey, I Spent My Month’s Salary on That Ring
Boney (2003) surveys major studies in divorce and identifies a male-focused bias in studies that negatively portray divorced single parents. Postmodern studies tend to present the positive side of divorce. In 2002 Boney notes that negative view of single parenthood, based upon traditional values, stresses single mothers, making them Boney. 😦 But a postmodernist therapy may help!

Employee Retention
Tambe (2006) looked at brothels as boundaries between families and non-families. Feminist theory often separates prostitution and family life. But In 1920s Bombay many women were actually encouraged by their families to join the sex trade. There was a hierarchy. In effect brothels functioned as real homes for these girls and young women.

Don’t Nuke Us
Pedraza Gomez (2007) finds the modern Western notion of childhood does not suit the current Third World. Education took European children out of work force but not indigenous children or slaves. So non-Western families don’t follow nuclear family model.

You Raised Me Up
Keller and Demuth (2006) try to disentangle views about “independence” as a value of childhood socialization. Because everyone teaches it.
Germans breastfeed for emotional closeness. Americans breastfeed for health.

What If I Told You We Don’t Play Starcraft All Day?
Lee (2005) notes that people in South Korea, who didn’t know what to do with their free time, are learning Western leisure activities.

Don’t Grow Complacent
Kanduc (2004) views leisure consumerism as a type of social control that perpetuates exploitation. The unspoken goal of the ruling class is to produce people who are productive but also docile. People believe that happiness can be found in consumerism but this belief is an opiate.

New Car, Caviar, Four Star Daydream
Baldauf (2002) asks why do young people like to shop? To satisfy needs for sociability, distinction, and individuality. Shopping is viewed as a “sociology of manipulation”. Baldauf proposes that shopping provides “shopperedutainment” — a way of healing the wounds of capitalism by holding out the glimmers of freedom, individuality, and authenticity. People don’t define themselves by work anymore but instead by the clothes they wear.

Ticking Away the Moments That Make Up a Dull Day
North-Jones (2009) studied how 10 families lead their daily lives (way to make the study scientific with such a small sample size…). People say they were rushed. People say they want their children to respect themselves and others, have wisdom, have knowledge of the world, etc. People say they feel they don’t have enough time.

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.