In our current society, the average household must have two adults working full time to achieve economic stability and to at least have a chance at reaching the “middle class”. Parsons and Bales’ piece on family (written during 1955) is notable for being one of the first studies on family dynamics. Parsons and Bales expressed confidence that family structure will attain long term stability through universal “modern” reconfiguration which incorporated a nuclear family structure and gender role specialization. Although, specific socioeconomic conditions during the 1950’s permitted this family structure to work, by the 1980’s this organization of the family would prove unstable. Although, Parsons and Bales theory of the family made sense …show more content…
Parsons uses the family norms of the 1950’s to define the “ideal” family. Parsons praised the benefits of gender role specialization, implying that it would create spousal interdependence and thus marital stability. However, Parsons failed to recognize the flaws in his model and how external social conditions change and thus complicate his model of the family. It is important to understand Parsons and Bales’ model of the family because many social policies and economic practices still assume that American families should conform to the family structure described by Parsons. Parsons and Bales develop fundamental assumptions about 1950s society that allow them to build their model of the ideal “modern” family. The underlying assumptions are everchanging and not true of our current society and thus are the main reasons why the their model of the family is inefficient and unattainable. One assumption made is that the industrial economy is the significant force behind the emergence of the male breadwinning family. He failed to consider the social conditions that influenced the model’s prominence during the 50’s. Parsons had very little actual observations or statistics that supported the popularity of his model of the nuclear family. Rather, it could be argued that his theory was mostly based on speculation. Studies show that the nuclear family
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The family shows both continuity and changes which can be seen by looking at nuclear families and single parent families respectively. Before 1940s, marriage was considered an important part of society and thought to be a social institution essential for order. Divorce and single parent families were considered dreadful, sex outside marriage was not acceptable, it was a moral offense. The tempo of divorces was very low, but this social behavior soon ended in the post war era. By 1960s, this was no longer the case, as women started to work. They became much more independent, laws were changed and increase in divorces and cohabitation rates had shown that marriage was not compulsory in one’s life.
This essay, The Myth of the Model American Family, is a discussion of the concept of an ideal family in the different perspective specifically social, cultural and economic. This is also an attempt to identify the structural changes in relation to the global development and the international economic crisis that immensely created impact on their lives. However, the discussion will limit itself on the different identifiable and observable transformations as manifested in the lifestyles, interrelationships and views of family members and will not seek to provide an assessment of their psycho-social and individual perceptions.
Stephanie Coontz in “The Way We Weren’t: The Myth and Reality of the Traditional Family” emphasizes that the traditional and ideal nuclear family widespread in media and textbooks are false and far from reality. In fact, it is common to see more similarities to the traditional family consistent of “male breadwinner and nurturing mother” (1) today than in the past.
Talcott Parsons’ (1956, pg. 309) believed that “the nuclear family is a social system” which consists of a straight married couple and around two to five children, “can be distinguished, and does function as a significant group” (1956, pg.308). Parsons believed that the family benefitted society in ways such as the teachings of gender roles and the overall structure of society: the male going to work and being the breadwinner, while the wife stays at home and cooks and nurtures the children. After the Second World War, the nuclear family was the most common type of family making the structure easily “distinguishable”. However, when we look at the postmodern society, we can see that there are many different types of families nowadays such
In her book Marriage a History Stephanie Coontz explains the male breadwinner family model and its dominance in family life during the 40’s, 50’s, and early 60’s. An illustration of the male breadwinner model is composed of a father, mother, and two children; typically a boy and girl close in age. Funded by their father’s well paying middle class salary, the wife and children live a comfortable life in suburbia and participate regularly in consumer trends. Perceived as the head of the household, the father was the sole financial provider. On the other hand the mother was the head of domestic life and was responsible for the children. The popular 1950’s TV show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet exemplified this family model. With regard to the male breadwinner family model, imagine having eight other brothers and sisters. Imagine growing up without a mother, and with a father who worked constantly. Then consider living this life alongside your peers who come from the “normal” male breadwinner families Coontz describes… How would your family differ from your peers? What would be your thoughts and feelings towards family life? More importantly, how would these unique circumstances change your perception of the nuclear family?
Parsons list of functions is much shorter than Murdock’s; he argues that the family has to provide for the primary socialization of children by teaching them the acceptable rules and patterns of behaviour to ensure the stabilisation of society. Parsons analysis suggests that as society progresses the family naturally adapts and therefore shows how the family’s functions adapt to a modern society with less emphasis on the need for the family to fulfil the economic maintenance with outside agencies taking on some of the roles of the family.
Foremost, the familial image has undertaken significant changes in regards to the ‘breadwinner’ and ‘homemaker’ roles within the family. In the latter of the 20th century, women’s participation in the labour force had been very little to non-existent, primarily because time allocations had been perceived as gender specific, that is, men were seen as the ‘breadwinner’, while women were viewed as the ‘homemaker’ (Seltzer, Bachrach, Bianchi, Bledsoe, Casper, Chase-Lansdale, Diprete, Hotz, Morgan, Sanders, & Thomas, 2005, pp.20). The ‘breadwinner’ role was to secure financial stability, while the
Times have changed; the nuclear family is no longer the American ideal because family needs have changed since the 1950's. This American convention of a mother and father and their two children, were a template of films and early television as a depiction of the American family life. Now seen as archaic and cliché by today’s standards, but the idea is common throughout many of the first world nations in the world. This ideal was a vast departure from the past agrarian and pre industrial families, and was modeled and structured as the ‘American dream’ father working, mother maintaining the household and children molded to be simulacra of the parents. This portrayal was not the standard; many communities throughout America had a different
n the upcoming page’s I will answer the following questions. Why is family the most important agent of socialization? What caused the dramatic changes to the American family? What are the changes? I will discuss the differences in marriage and family, I will discuss how they are linked to class, race, gender, and personal choices. The purpose of this study is to explore the many different family functions and the paths that people are now choosing. I will give my opinion on whether these changes have had a positive or negative affect. I will finally discuss the trend of the modern family, back to pre-World War II family structure, how would that effect the strides that have been made in the progression of women rights.
Since the nineteenth century, in the western societies, family patterns changed under the forces of industrialisation and urbanisation. Another factor which has been involved in those changes is the growing intervention of the state, by legislative action, in the domestic affairs of the family. As a result of these trends, the modern “nuclear” family has been substituted for the traditional extended family. The increase of values such as individualism and egalitarism has influenced the patterns of
This paper will discuss the differences between families from the 1960’s and the families of today. There are many differences between the different times. I have focused on the parentage portion of the families. I explained what the ideal family is and how it is different today. I’ve also included ways that will help these families of today become stronger as a family.
In this paper, I will use the sociological imagination to connect my personal experiences of growing up in a nuclear family to comparison of growing up in a divorced family. I’m from a nuclear family and my best friend is from a divorced family. “Some people still think the average American family consists of a husband who works in paid employment and a wife who looks after the home, living together with their children” according to Giddens, Anthony pg. 447. That’s not the case in many households. There are many differences, from values, financial issues, and how having one parent opposed to, two parents growing up. Growing up in a nuclear family household has given me the opportunity to have both parents supporting me and always being there, having both parents at special events, giving me the guidance from both perspectives man, and women, love, and financial aid. My best friends parents have been divorced for over 19 years, her living style is much different. She has to make certain days available to visit her father, and her mother has financial difficulties.
In her book The Unfinished Revolution, Kathleen Gerson argues that today, family pathways are more important than family structure. In this context, family structure refers to the organization of a family, and the way that it has been changing as a result of the gender revolution. For example, some nontraditional family structures that are explored in the book include double parent families with both parents earning, single parent families (mostly single mothers), and families with same-sex parents. Gerson argues that while family structures are not negligible, it is family pathways that are more important for the children of the gender revolution. That is to say, the children value the dynamics of their family more than the structure. They are more concerned about how well their parents are able to provide them with the necessary emotional and financial support than they are about how well their families follow a norm. For them, it is more about feeling like they’re part of a family rather than just physically being in one. Gerson emphasizes this when she explains that the people she interviewed “focused on the long-term consequences of parental choices, not on the specific form or type of home these choices produced at any one moment in time.” One important implication of this argument is the way in which the children of the gender revolution imagine their own romantic relationships unfolding. Even there, they prioritize a feeling rather than a format. For example, one
Social Structure theory has three main perspectives for what shapes family relations. Friedrich Engels argued that the transformation from feudalism to capitalism altered family life by moving production outside households and into factories which societal view of personal worth became attached to earning capacity (Baker 2014). Political Economy theory shows that families change when the economy does. The change in economy had families changing from extended to nuclear and the importance of establishing lineage to pass wealth onto. Talcott Parsons theorized about family life through Structural