Define the family as a social institution.
The family is a basic building block of the society. Right from the birth and upbringing of the children to imparting values and culture across generations, family plays a vital role. It forms the basis of societal growth (Mangus, Burges and Locke 1954).
Identify and discuss the basic concepts surrounding family.
As the family is an elementary structure of society, it has some basic concepts. Marriage is one of them and can be defined as a phenomenon that helps to bond people together to start a new family. The family thus formed can be nuclear or extended. Finally, Kinship is a relationship on account of common ancestry (Edmonson, 1957).
Identify global variations of the family including region, religion of choice, and thoughts on how the specific region may lead someone to choose a particular religion.
The cultures and traditions have played a significant part in shaping the families and hence the societies. The meanings of traditions being followed at any particular region have a great significance for the people. It influences the family to have a certain disposition and outlook. Marriage and divorce are the key elements that tell more about a region and its families. For example, families living in eastern hemisphere have lower divorce rates than in Western ones. Multiple factors characterize a region and these factors may be responsible for the adoption of religions by its families. For example, a democratic set-up promotes diversity and hence multi-religious. On the other hand, dictatorship and theocracy lead to any one particular religion (Thornton, 1985).
Discuss patterns associated with marriage, residence, descent, and authority.
Marriage can be of different types- monogamy (single spouse), polygamy (multiple spouses), polygyny (multiple wives) and polyandry (multiple husbands). The residence patterns observed are Neolocal (independent married couples), Patrilocal and Matrilocal. Descent refers to the tracing of blood relations through father or mother. Authority in the family has a strong influence on the children, and that reflects their place in society (Warner, Lee and Lee, 1986).
Discuss briefly each of the different theories associated with the family such as; Structural Functionalism, Social-Conflict, Feminist Theories, and Symbolic Interactionism.
Structural Functionalism sees society as a consequence of mutual agreements. There is a slow and orderly process of creation of values and their maintenance. It is a broad based view of society as a function of its constituent elements (K. Anderson 2007).
Social-Conflict: this theory was propounded by Karl Marks, which argues that human behavior and society as a whole is in constant confrontation and competition for the limited resources.
Feminist Theories: feminism suggests the equality of men and women. It believes that both men and women are free to have their interests, and they should be given equal opportunities for education and growth.
Symbolic Interactionism is a theory in sociology which states that we interact and communicate through words, gestures and symbols and these all have developed and acquired particular meanings.
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Discuss and identify the stages of family life.
The different stages of family life are the unattached adult, newly marrieds, child-bearing adults, preschool-age child, school-age child, teenager, launching children, retired adults (Glick 1989).
Discuss briefly the U.S. family regarding class, race, and gender.
After the abolition of slavery and opinions of personalities like Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln, US family is more progressive, diverse and liberal today (Baker, Anderson and Collins 1995).
Identify and discuss the transitions and problems in family life.
There are different transitions and problems in family life such as separation or divorce that occur due to several factors. The death of any family member or a friend may be a transition. Then adolescence is also a transition point whereas violence in the family is a serious problem(L George 1993).
Discuss the impact of technology on the family.
The technology is affecting in both positive and negative ways. However, technology has greatly impacted the modern families. Children are understanding and using the capabilities of devices very fast. Internet and smartphones have opened a Pandora’s box for them to learn more (Silva 2010).
Identify future patterns of the family as a social institution.
As far as future patterns are concerned, the family will never cease to be a unit for societal growth. However, globalization makes families more diverse (Wirtberg 2005).
Define religion as an institution.
As an institution, the emotions, beliefs and practices of religion are powerful means of social integration by promoting a community of thought (Loewenthal 1995).
Discuss briefly the Structural Functionalist, Symbolic Interactionist, and Social Conflict approaches and theories to religion.
Structural Functionalist theory explains society as a complex unit of various institutions as a religion that creates social cohesion by reaffirming bonds among people. Religion also helped to spread certain symbols and gestures in the society. Conflict approach of religion highlights conflicts and identities existing in cultures (Loewenthal 1995).
Anderson, K. (2007). Book Review: Engaging Theories in Family Communication: Multiple Perspectives. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26(1), pp.91-92.
Baker, T., Andersen, M. and Collins, P. (1995). Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology. Teaching Sociology, 23(2), p.190.
Edmonson, M. (1957). Kinship Terms and Kinship Concepts. American Anthropologist, 59(3), pp.393-433.
George, L. (1993). Sociological Perspectives on Life Transitions. Annual Review of Sociology, 19(1), pp.353-373.
Glick, P. (1989). The Family Life Cycle and Social Change. Family Relations, 38(2), p.123.
Loewenthal, K. (1995). Religion and the Individual. A Social-Psychological Perspective (Book).International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 5(1), pp.65-67.
Mangus, A., Burgess, E. and Locke, H. (1954). The Family. From Institution to Companionship.Marriage and Family Living, 16(2), p.182.
Silva, E. (2010). Technology, culture, family. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Thornton, A. (1985). Reciprocal Influences of Family and Religion in a Changing World. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 47(2), p.381.
Warner, R., Lee, G. and Lee, J. (1986). Social Organization, Spousal Resources, and Marital Power: A Cross-Cultural Study. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48(1), p.121.
Wirtberg, I. (2005). Introduction to medical family therapy. Acta Paediatrica, 94, pp.45-46.