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1. What is meant by the idea that race, class, and gender are interactive systems rather than
individual variables? Think about your own family of orientation, and take one particular aspect of
your family life as an example. Discuss briefly how race, class, and gender act simultaneously to shape
that aspect of your family life.
Class race and gender are present in a society and are very closely dependent upon each other.
They represent the diversity of the society. One cannot be thought of in isolation. These three
aspects make up an integrated family. My family though a patriarchal one has empowered the
women folk to work .W this becomes an extended part of our family. We have married into the
other races especially into the African American race and we live together and happily. The men
and the women contribute to the running of the family and take equal responsibility of the
family. We do not believe in classism and hence this is totally absent in the family though there
are a few very poor cousins whom we have brought home to uplift their status .So our family has
cut across all societal norms and hence we are able to live together even in these days of family
isolation. All the three have united our family in a very cohesive way.
2. Most people agree that marriages and families underwent major changes during the last half of the
twentieth century; however, few people link these changes to larger societal changes that have taken
place. Identify some of the major changes that have taken place during the past 50 years (for
example, in transportation, technology, and social welfare policies), and discuss their impact on
contemporary marriages and families. Reflect on your own family and consider how one such change
has affected your family and/or families like yours
Marriages and family structures underwent radical changes due to shift in habits. The
urbanization of the society led to many families being broken down into smaller units. The
nucelarization of families started. Transportation has enabled people to commute to work and
hence the growth of the suburban style of families was born. Technology especially the internet
and mobile phones as enabled families to be connected and hence the families slowly started
moving out. When my family members got educated and were looking for jobs, they had to
leave the family home and settle in cities. The only consolation was that we used to remain
connected over the internet and phones. There is hardly anyone left in the family home everyone
lives in distant places and make it a compulsory habit to be at home for Christmas and Easter.
3. Virtually every practical decision you make and every practical opinion you hold has some theory
behind it. Consider any marriage and family behavior or event of interest to you. Develop a “mini
theory” to explain the behavior or event. What are some of the major assumptions you make about
human beings, society, marriages, families, women, and men? Is your theory a micro or macro level
explanation? Which one of the theoretical perspectives or theory models does your theory most
resemble? After you have developed your mini theory, consider that you or some researcher wants to
test it. What kinds of questions might you ask? Which research methodology would be most
appropriate to test your theory? Why?
There have been conflicts of some kind in family structures .The conflict theory states precisely
why there are so many upheavals in societies and in family structures. The conflict theory states
that conflict is due to many social and economic inequalities which are inherent in the society.
Economic inequalities are present in the form of the rich and the poor, the employers and the
employed. Power is a very important source of conflict as it is seen that the rich exert their power
to those families which are poor leading to rebellions, power struggles and the rise of the class
inequalities. Social changes have also led to conflicts among different groups that make a society
and have led to new emerging order of community based on some adaptations. In order to test
the conflict theory I would develop a questionnaire were I would list out the most important
causes of conflict in families. The primary method data collection would be used for this
research and it would be an experimental research trying to find questions to conflicts in
4. Why do sociologists need different theoretical perspectives to explain marriage and
family behavior? Why isn’t one perspective sufficient?
Just as all humans are not perfect, neither are the theories that they thought up. There might be
one theory that is better for explaining a phenomemon then another. Also, there may be new
theories put in place to recognize race, class, and gender diversity in marriage and families. Each
of the theories has its advantages and limitations. There is no single theory to explain marriage
and the family.
There are many different ways to study marriage and the family. I think that some ways of
research are better or worse than others. For example, surveys can be biased because those who
take the surveys are a select group who are willing to spend the time.
Even out of those people who take the survey could rush through and not know how to answer
the questions, which also must be prepared properly. Observation is a good research method
because you get a first look into the individuals but it is time consuming.
Sociologists go beyond individual experiences to study marriages and families in social,
historical, political, and cross-cultural contexts.
From their research, sociologists have generated a number of theories that help to explain issues
like why and how marriages and families emerged, how they are sustained over time, how
people involved in these relationships interact with and related to each other, what significance
marriages and families have for United States society, and how and why marriages and families
change over time.
5. As discussed in this chapter, marriages and families today are faced with a myriad of
challenges such as home foreclosures, unemployment, violence, poverty, and racism. If you
were a member of a team charged with developing social policy pertaining to American
families, what aspect of family life would you focus on, how might you research the topic,
and what kind of policy (ies) might you suggest to policy makers?
I would focus on UNEMPLOYMENT
Unemployment doesn’t just affect individuals; it can devastate entire families, too. Throughout
America, an estimated 9 million people languish on the unemployment rolls. Their families
suffer the financial and emotional consequences as the job search drags on for months — even
The stress and depressive symptoms associated with job loss can negatively affect parenting
practices such as increasing punitive and arbitrary punishment.
As a result, children report more distress and depressive symptoms. Depression in children and
adolescents is linked to multiple negative outcomes, including academic problems, substance
abuse, high-risk sexual behavior, physical health problems, impaired social relationships and
increased risk of suicide
Many studies have similarly argued that marriage and family life are negatively affected by the
Methods of research
THE SURVEYS, use of reports by government on unemployed people( secondary data
collection). The measures in the survey can include items about workers’ financial status, mental
and physical health, family conflict, self-blame and coping, social support, life events,
employment history, and future plans.
The instrument can be a one-hour personal interviews Surveys. Are one of the quickest ways to
find out what we want to know about people, and are the most widely used method of studying
marriages and families. Surveys are relatively cheap, but sometimes distorted
Interview: Usually involves one person asking another person questions and recording the
Questionnaire: Typically a set of printed questions that people read on their own and then record
Observation Hawthorne Effect: When people know they are being studied they often modify
Participant Observation: The researcher becomes a part of the interaction being studied
Useful when researchers have only a vague idea of the behavior they want to study, when
subjects are not readily accessible, or when there is no other way to get the information. These
studies usually take a long time, can be expensive, generally involve few subjects, and offer little
control over situations. However, they lead to in-depth understanding.
Use newly collected and preexisting data such as those from interviews, participant observation,
or existing records for in-depth examination of a particular individual, group, or organization.
Overall, case studies have provided some significant insights into marriage and family processes
(especially how families create roles, patterns, and rules).
In general, the ethnography is a research technique for describing a social group from the group’s
point of view. An advantage of ethnographic studies is that they provide firsthand accounts of
those whose lives we are studying by some research it can be seen that usually unemploment
impacts family as
Reduced Disposable Income- As unemployment sets in, the disposable income of the family is
Loss of Financial Security
Strained Relationships————————Money is very important to keep things going on
smoothly. With less or no money in hand, the head of the family is under continuous stress,
which disturbs the emotional and physical health of everyone.
Housing Issues——————————————————————————Issues related
to housing also come up with job loss. The family may need to shift to another house with low
rent because the one in which the family used to live before, may not suit their pockets now.
often, people tend to lean towards resorting to something that is illegal in order to make some
money, when all other options run dry
also affects social acceptance of families. Children of unemployed parents are generally not
considered at par with children of employed parents. Wives of jobless men find it difficult to find
jobs for themselves.
Loss of Retirement Security- ———————————————————–With job loss,
the amount of money that is regularly set aside for use after retirement comes to a stop.
Minimum wages need to be realistic. A minimum wage based on actual minimum living
expenses would go a long way towards solving this problem.
Many people are kept at part time because their employers can’t afford to provide the
insurance benefits that they are required to provide for full time employees. So my partial
solution to this cause of homelessness is once again, healthcare reform, preferably a single payer
system. This would reduce employer costs greatly and they’d then only need to worry about
wages – even workman’s comp would be reduced as they would no longer have to pay for
As far as unemployment goes, I think that the economy would slowly but surely benefit from
greater health care availability which will lead to new employment opportunities.
A relatively recent problem associated with unemployment is the practice of credit checks for
hiring purposes unrelated to cash handling or finance positions. These practices make it almost
impossible for someone who has gotten behind on their bills to get hired – the bills they are
behind on because they are unemployed! So making these practices illegal other than when
hiring for cash handling or finance positions would help unemployed people have fewer barriers
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