SOC 280 Discussion Sociological Perspectives On The Family

March 8, 2022
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SOC 280 Discussion Sociological Perspectives On The Family

SOC 280 Discussion Sociological Perspectives On The Family

Discussion Prompt 1: In your own words, define
discrimination and prejudice and provide at least two examples of each. Include
both institutional discrimination and institutional racism.

Discussion Prompt 2:Review the following website, which
provides statistics if the world were 100 people.

What is your reaction to this? Discuss this project in terms
of global inequality, which you studied in this week’s materials. How could the
different sociological perspectives explain global inequality?

Sociological views on today’s families generally fall into the functional, conflict, and social interactionist approaches introduced earlier in this book. Let’s review these views, which are summarized in Table 12.1 “Theory Snapshot”.

Table 12.1 Theory Snapshot


Major Assumptions

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SOC 280 Discussion Sociological Perspectives On The Family

SOC 280 Discussion Sociological Perspectives On The Family


The family performs several essential functions for society. It socializes children, provides emotional and practical support for its members, helps regulate sexual activity and sexual reproduction, and provides its members with a social identity. In addition, sudden or far-reaching changes in the family’s structure or processes threaten its stability.


The family contributes to social inequality by reinforcing economic inequality and by reinforcing patriarchy. The family can also be a source of conflict, including physical violence and emotional cruelty, for its own members.

Symbolic Interactionism

The interaction of family members and intimate couples involves shared understandings of their situations. Spouses have different styles of communication, and social class affects the expectations that spouses have of their marriages and of each other. Romantic love is the common basis for American marriages and dating relationships, but it is much less common in numerous contemporary nations.

Functional Perspective on Families
Recall that the functional perspective emphasizes that social institutions perform several important functions to help preserve social stability and otherwise keep a society working. A functional understanding of family thus stresses the ways in which family as a social institution helps make society possible. As such, families perform several important functions.

First, family is the primary unit for socializing children. As previous chapters indicated, no society is possible without adequate socialization of its young. In most societies, family is the major unit in which socialization happens. Parents, siblings, and other relatives all help socialize children from the time they are born.

Second, family is ideally a major source of practical and emotional support for its members. It provides them food, clothing, shelter, and other essentials, and it also provides them love, comfort, help in times of emotional distress, and other types of intangible support that we all need.

Third, family helps regulate sexual activity and sexual reproduction. All societies have norms governing with whom and how often a person should have sex. Family is the major unit for teaching these norms and the major unit through which sexual reproduction occurs.One reason for this is to ensure that infants have adequate emotional and practical care when they are born. The incest taboo that most societies have, which prohibits sex between certain relatives, helps minimize conflict within families and to establish social ties among different families and thus among society as a whole.

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