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Chapter 18 Assignment: Families Essay
Chapter 18 Assignment Families Essay
Family forms a key structure in many societies globally. However, the question of what exactly constitute the family has elicited controversy in sociology, religion, and politics. While the social conservatives tend to characterize family in relation to structure with every member of the family accorded specific role, sociologists on the their side define the family based on how family members relate to each other on a firm arrangement of status roles. Sociologically, therefore, a family can be defined as an intimate socially recognized group of people that are related by bonds of marriage, blood, and legal ties. Family often creates an emotional attachment and serves as basic economic unity of the society. Besides, family has been a flexible social unit that has survived since time immemorial (Macionis, 2017). There are different types of families and sociologists often recognize them based on how a person enters into them.
Primarily, the concept of family is closely associated with marriage, kinship, and families of affinity. To begin with, marriage can be defined as a social union or legal contract between partners that leads to kinship. The most common type of marriage in many societies is that involving man and woman. However, there are many other types of marriage such as polygamy where a man marries more than one wife at a time and polyandry where a woman has more than one man as a time. Notably, the legal perspective of marriage has tremendously changed and recognizes marriages between the same sexes (Lindsey and Linda, 2015). Sociologically, the relationship between marriage and family is important because families are believed to emanate from marriages and families form the fundamental social units which establish the society (Lindsey and Linda, 2015). Besides, status roles are usually traced to marriages and families, which are endorsed by the society. The other concept is kinship which connotes social bond anchored on familiar ancestry, marriage, or adoption. Besides, families affinity is also associated with the concept of families because it is a way in which people perceives themselves as a family and intends the rest to view them as one.
Essentially, the concept of family varies across different societies in the globe. However, the major types of families include the extended family and the nuclear family. The extended family or consanguine family connotes a family that is made up of parents, children, and other kinsmen. On the other hand, the nuclear family or conjugal family refers to a family comprising one or both
parents and their child or children. Nuclear families are the most widespread. Moreover, marriage takes different patterns including monogamy which connotes marriage between two partners, exogamy marriage which involve people between partners from different social categories, endogamy which connotes marriage between people of similar social category, and polygamy which refers to a marriage involving more than one spouse. Polygamy can either take form of polygyny or polyandry. polygyny refers to marriage involving one man and more than one woman. Polyandry on the other side is marriage that binds one woman with more than one man.
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Close to the concept of marriage is the issue of descent system. Descent is defined as a system used by the society to trail kinship over generations (Macionis, 2017). Most cultures worldwide have a broad range of systems to trace kinship either through the father’s side, mother’s side, or both. A descent group can be defined as a social group with members sharing a common ancestry. Fundamentally, the unilineal society is one in which a person’s descent is traced through both mother and father. On the other hand, matrilineal descent refers to a system where an individual’s descent is to the mother’s descent group. The patrilineal descent on the other hand refers to individuals belonging on the descent group of their father. Although the model of nuclear family can be viewed as transient and ego-centered, the descent groups are mostly permanent and considered based on a particular ancestor (Macionis, 2017).
Owing to different sociological perspectives of family, the understanding of what family entails can be explained through different theoretical angles. The first theory is symbolic interactionism and functionalism. According to Thompson et al., (2016), the two theories argue that families constitute a group where the members regard themselves as family members and act so. That is, the idea of families implies that people come together and create a vibrant primary group connection and keep the emotional ties among themselves for a durable period. Moreover, the functionalist view argues that families characterize groups that play crucial roles for the society. Besides, this theory argues that families play important roles of providing members with social, physical, and emotional support. For instance, parents are required to take good care of children until they are independent. In turn, when the parents get old, the adult children are expected to care for their old parents. In short, therefore, interactionism theory strives to advance the personal experience of being part of a family, while functionalism seeks to highlight the different functions of the families and their part in ensuring a rational society. On the other hand, conflict theory advances the role played by power in the family life. It argues that the family absolutely a perfect or a safe place but instead, it is a platform that is often frequented with power struggle. The concept of power mostly emanate from the conduct of family status role. The conflicts that may be involved here include rule enforcement from parent to child, others include domestic violence.
On the other side, families especially the ones derived from marriages occur through different stages including courtship for some societies, settling in which encompasses either ideal or real marriages, child bearing and upkeep, and later in life remaining alone as a couple. However, during marriages a lot of challenges tend to witnessed. They include high divorce rate, remarriage, and family violence especially against children and women. Finally, other than marriage, other optional forms of family include single-parent families, cohabitation, same sex couples, and single parenthood.
In conclusion, the concept of family and marriage has been characterized by drastic changes in the contemporary United States society. There are outstanding incidences of divorce and separations which adversely impact family and marriage institutions. Besides, the society is marred by high incidences of same-sex marriages, cohabitation, and singlehood that essentially influencing the noble ideas of marriages that societies have enjoyed for decades. Moreover, these alternative forms of family also alter the American perspectives of what constitutes a family.
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Important information for writing discussion questions and participation
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Your initial discussion post should be a minimum of 200 words and response posts should be a minimum of 150 words. Be advised that I grade based on quality and not necessarily the number of words you post. A minimum of TWO references should be used for your initial post. For your response post, you do not need references as personal experiences would count as response posts. If you however cite anything from the literature for your response post, it is required that you cite your reference. You should include a minimum of THREE references for papers in this course. Please note that references should be no more than 5 years old except recommended as a resource for the class. Furthermore, for each discussion board question, you need ONE initial substantive response and TWO substantive responses to either your classmates or your instructor for a total of THREE responses. There are TWO discussion questions each week, hence, you need a total minimum of SIX discussion posts for each week. I usually post a discussion question each week. You could also respond to these as it would count towards your required SIX discussion posts for the week.
I understand this is a lot of information to cover in 5 weeks, however, the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us. Even in times like this, we are encouraged by God’s word that we have that ability in us to succeed with His strength. I pray that each and every one of you receives strength for this course and life generally as we navigate through this pandemic that is shaking our world today. Relax and enjoy the course!
Please read through the following information on writing a Discussion question response and participation posts.
Contact me if you have any questions.
Important information on Writing a Discussion Question
- Your response needs to be a minimum of 150 words (not including your list of references)
- There needs to be at least TWO references with ONE being a peer reviewed professional journal article.
- Include in-text citations in your response
- Do not include quotes—instead summarize and paraphrase the information
- Follow APA-7th edition
- Points will be deducted if the above is not followed
Participation –replies to your classmates or instructor
- A minimum of 6 responses per week, on at least 3 days of the week.
- Each response needs at least ONE reference with citations—best if it is a peer reviewed journal article
- Each response needs to be at least 75 words in length (does not include your list of references)
- Responses need to be substantive by bringing information to the discussion or further enhance the discussion. Responses of “I agree” or “great post” does not count for the word count.
- Follow APA 7th edition
- Points will be deducted if the above is not followed
- Remember to use and follow APA-7th edition for all weekly assignments, discussion questions, and participation points.
- Here are some helpful links
- Student paper example
- Citing Sources
- The Writing Center is a great resource