Marriage and Alternative Family Arrangements Chapter 12
After studying this chapter, you should be able to do the following Explain the functions of the family. Describe the major variations in family structure. Define marriage and describe its relationship to the phenomenon of romantic love. Describe the various rules governing marriage. Explain the ways in which mate selection is not random. Summarize recent changes in the family as an institution. Explain the impact of changes in divorce and child-custody laws. Describe the various alternative family arrangements in contemporary American society.
The Nature of Family Life What is a family? A social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation, and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults.
Do you agree with this definition? How would you define a family?
Family Structures Nuclear family The most basic family form and is made up of a married couple and their biological or adopted children. The nuclear family is found in all societies, and it is from this form that all other (composite) family forms are derived.
Polygamous families Nuclear families linked together by multiple marriage bonds, with one central individual married to several spouses. Is polygynous when the central person is male and the multiple spouses are female. The family is polyandrous when the central person is female and the multiple spouses are male.
Extended families • Other relations and generations in addition to the nuclear family, so that along with married parents and their offspring, there may be the parents’ parents, siblings of the parents, the siblings’ spouses and children, and in-laws.
Ways Generations are traced Patrilineal System Matrilineal System Bilateral system
Patrilineal system • Generations are tied together through the males of a family; all members trace their kinship through the father’s line. • Patriarchal family • Describe situations in which most family affairs are dominated by men. • Matriarchal family • Most family affairs are dominated by women, is relatively uncommon but does exist.
Matrilineal system • The generations are tied together through the females of a family.
Bilateral system • Descent passes through both females and males of a family.
Defining Marriage Marriage An institution found in all societies, is the socially recognized, legitimized, and supported union of individuals of opposite sexes.
Five dimensions of romantic love • Idealization of the loved one • The notion of a one and only • Love at first sight • Love winning out over all • An indulgence of personal emotions
Marriage Rules • Endogamy • Limit the social categories from within which one can choose a marriage partner. • Exogamy, • Require an individual to marry someone outside his or her culturally defined group. • Monogamous • Each person is allowed only one spouse at a time. • Multiple marriages • an individual may have more than one spouse (polygamy).
Marital Residence Marital residence rules Govern where a couple settles down. Patrilocal residence Calls for the new couple to settle down near or within the husband’s father’s Matrilocal residence Calls for the new couple to settle down near or within the wife’s mother’s Bilocal residence, New couples choose whether to live with the husband’s or wife’s family of origin. Neolocal residence The couple may choose to live virtually anywhere,
America’s rules for marriage, which are expressed through mate selection, spring from those of our society’s European forebears. Homogamy The tendency of like to marry like
The Transformation of the Family Families of industrialization faced three pressures
Industrialism demands that workers be geographically mobile so that a workforce is available wherever new industries emergent. Industrialism requires a certain degree of movement between the social classes. The modern nuclear family is more open to inheritance and descent through both sides of the family.
The Decline of the Traditional Family Decline of the traditional family structure can also be attributed to the postponement of marriage high divorce rates.
Changes in the Marriage Rate Are fewer people marrying now than in the past? Why?
Marriage rate may be down but cohabitation is up. Cohabitation Unmarried couples living together out of wedlock
Childless Couples Childlessness among married couples has been increasing in recent years. Many women in the childbearing years see postponement of marriage and childbearing as pathways to a good job and economic independence.
Women in the Labor Force Baby boomers also had different economic expectations when they entered the workforce. Having two incomes became important to ensure the lifestyle and standard of living they had come to expect.
Family Violence Family violence is greater in poor and minority households, but it occurs in families at all socioeconomic levels. Children who are victims of abuse are more likely to be abusive as adults than children who did not experience family violence.
Factors that decrease family violence • People are getting married later • Having fewer children • More women in the labor force
Divorce Laws Before 1970, divorces in most American states could be obtained only on fault grounds. Fault grounds are those that assess blame against one of the spouses, and typically consist of adultery, desertion, physical and mental cruelty, long imprisonment for a felony, and drunkenness The fault laws led to wide variations among the states as to how difficult or easy it was to obtain a divorce.
Child Custody Laws Courts award joint custody for cases in which both parents can properly perform their duties as parents. Fathers often were advised by legal counsel of the futility of contesting custody, and the burden of proof was on the father to document the unfitness of the mother or to prove his ability to be a better parent than the mother. Custody is often awarded to the mother.
Remarriage and Stepfamilies The largest group of stepfamilies by far is composed of families formed by the remarriage of divorced men and women. Remarriage makes parenthood and kinship an achieved status rather than an ascribed status.
Divorced does not mean a person is rejecting the institution of marriage but rather a specific marriage partner
Stepfamilies, also known as blended families, are transforming basic family relationships.
Single-Parent Families The growth in single parent households has been influenced by three trends.
High divorce rates have increased the number of single-parent families. Increase in the percentage of babies born to unwed mothers, which suddenly and unexpectedly began to increase rapidly in the 1970s and has continued to do so. The rapid growth of unmarried cohabitation
Gay and Lesbian Couples A phenomenon that is not new but one that has become more and more visible is the household consisting of a gay or lesbian couple.