Please do not plagiarism my paper The Three Key Concepts of Sociology Applied to Analyzing Single-Parent Families What is the term family? What does it mean? Who decides what makes up a family? The definition of family means “a set of relations especially parents and children” (American Century Dictionary 205). This might include anyone related to by blood or by adoption such as: step parents, grandparents acting as parents, and even brothers and sisters sometimes sharing the same household. The term family has been believed to coincide with the word “marriage”. If you were to have a family, you were also thought to have a husband or wife. This was thought to be the norm for many centuries.
This was named the “institutional family.” But we have reinvented the word family. A family can consist of single parent family, step family, or a first marriage family. The role of the family is also a key concept in defining the family (Doherty 11). “In all societies the first major agent of socialization for most individuals is the family” (Thompson and Hickey 105). It is the nucleus of American life. The role of the American family is much the same as in any other country.
Each family member has to fulfill his or her own part. Being a father, a mother, or a daughter. The mass media will have an influence on the familys role. For instance, the media has portrayed men to be thought of as the “bread-winner”. To more or less support the family.
This family type was atypical of the American family. This was called the “Traditional Nuclear Family.” This kind of ideology has existed for centuries (Thompson and Hickey 386). But of all family types, single parent families have made the most gains during the past few decades. According to a sociological book called Society in Focus, the definition of a single parent family is “families in which one parent resides with and cares for one or more children” (387). “Researches estimate that a century ago one in three children spent part of their childhood in a single parent home” (384). This estimate is taken during the colonial period of America.
More families in the twenty-first century will be single parent. This is because of the factor of people getting married later in life, the high rate of divorce, and the opportunity to gain a career. By view of the social structure, single parenting has changed the views of the way parents treat and raise their children. By definition, social structure is “the ordered relationships and patterned expectations that guide social interaction” (Thompson and Hickey 142). Even though there has been a decline in marriage, functionalism believes that the family is the foundation of social order. According to the sociologists Talcot Parsons, “any other type of family other than the nuclear family is dysfunctional in society because they are not suited for societys economic needs and therefore may be a potential threat to society” (2).
Please do not plagiarism my paper The structural functionalist perspective views society as having a structure of several components. Family, religion, schools, state, and the economy. Each of these institutions are interrelated and interdependent (Thompson and Hickey 24). For instance marriage. The foundation of functionalism is the family.
The family fulfills vital functions for instance culture, support, and status. The institute of marriage is important because functionalism ignores conflict and diversity. So functionalism, encourages marriage. Functionalism does not take into account the reasons why there are single parent families (Mills 2). In the Conflict Perspective, marriage and family do not coincide with one another.
Rather conflict theorists agree that the environment and other forces shape the marriage and family. These powers “are rooted in structures of social inequality” (Eitzen and Baca-Zinn 1987:13). The Marxist view is those who have the means to produce wealth and those who dont. Capitalism is the capitalist class vs. the working class.
With the divorce rate so high, single parents dont really affect capitalism. In fact, they might help benefit that economy. “Single mothers can produce cheap labor, social services not amenable to profit making, and new laborers for temporary dead-end jobs” (Thompson and Hickey 378). From the symbolic interactionist perspective, there are no fixed meanings. Marriage and family do not coincide together like, functionalism.
Symbolic interactionism does not force the word marriage with the word family. “Most single parent families are headed either by ex-spouses who have custody of the children and depend on inadequate child-care payments or by unmarried women” (Thompson and Hickey 387). Women feel more independent than they did 100 years ago. Who chooses these decisions to be a single mother or to be a single father? What laws govern these choices? The choices that were made by these kinds of families fall under a category called social actions. A social action or social act is defined as “behaviors influenced by or shaped by the presence of others” (Thompson and Hickey 143). This means that someone somewhere had to decide that they wanted a divorce or they decided to become a single parent.
People began to follow these trends for several reasons. These trends include the possibility of violence in the family, the spouse had died, or the particular idea of being a single parent. Divorce rates have increased incredibly during the past half-century and now are currently among the highest in the world. “Since World War II, more than 70 percent of single parent families have been created by divorce and separation and the rest by unmarried mothers or fathers who have chosen to raise children by themselves” (Thompson and Hickey 387). “Marriage has been seen as an unbreakable contract and the economic perils of a solo existence made abandoning ones partner difficult, particularly for women” (Kramer 160). Functionalism believes that trends do not exist.
Structural functionalist ignore family violence. Functionalism is made up of institutions, and then again do not believe in the separation of a family. When a victim is beaten, functionalist theorists focused on these family members and recognized their “ability to adjust and reorganize, rather than the need for social change at the macro and extra familial level” (Adams 13). Conflict theorists disagree. If there is battery in a marriage, then the physically abused spouse should leave.
In the conflict perspective, the patriarchal family exists. This means the men have the control over the women. Within the conflict viewpoint, feminism has a strong argument in the social action category, under single parenting. Feminism remarks on how women are in distress and have defined violence as a reflection of the patriarchs power. This might be the cause of so many divorces and in turn, leading to single parenting. Please do not plagiarism my paper Symbolic Interactionism provides a different meaning.
Trends correspond along with divorce, single parenting, and individuality. If a family depends on a divorce, symbolic interactionism will allow this to take place, under the laws of the state and the government. Individuals should be free to enter marriages, as they are free to choose their spouses, that in turn they should be free to eliminate those spouses in a time of urgency. “Today marriages have often become individual endeavors in which partners seek to satisfy their own needs – and can often easily dissolve the marriage when needs are unmet” (Johnson 12). “The family is the toughest institution that we have. It is the institution to which we owe our humanity” (Mills 3). The family can emphasize so many different things.
Culture, parental guidance, education, and family history. The family is so curtail and no other institution can provide like the family can. Functional integration is this basis. The terminology of functional integration is “the integration resulting from the manner in which the different specialized parts of a whole society interact, interrelate, and make reciprocal contributions to each other and to society as a whole” (“Integrative Concept” 1). Functional integration is what makes up the family.
It is what keeps the family together in a time of crisis. Functional integration is curtail on providing the role of child bearing, child raising, and adulthood. Structural Functionalism is the basis here. The norm here is the nuclear family and that family alone. Dorothy Smith comments on how the nuclear family is seen as an ideological code that is “deeply embedded within the discourse of sociology and operates so subtly, that it prevails despite the conscious intentions of the authors” (2).
Structural functionalists do not see the single family as a family. Rather they ignore it and believe that kind of institution to be dysfunctional. By Coser, “the family is the most elementary social unit and the prototype of all other human associations, for these evolve from family and kinship groups” (1). By way of the conflict perspective, conflict theorists view the family as an institution to which we will get all of our knowledge by determination of class. Conflict will acknowledge that all families have an important role in the development in a childs life, depending on the social class o …