Exploring Relationships and Families Chapter 2 Theoretical Perspectives What is Theory? Why is theory important in understanding relationships and families? Ways of viewing reality Ways to organize and interpret what we see We identify phenomena of interest and theory helps provide explanations for WHY it occurs. People are tempted to apply theory to things that are very individualistic; can use family phenomenon to figure it out Family theory is independent variable, dependent variable, or both. Family Ecology Focuses on the influence of the family?s surrounding environment See notebook for chart thing 1. Family Life Course Development Family Life Cycle Stages Newly established couple (formed a relationship; typically marriage) Families of preschoolers Families of primary school children Families of adolescents Families in the middle years (children have launched) Aging families (work into retirement) 2. FLCDT Families experience predictable changes throughout the lifespan Starts with marriage ? ends with death Stages marked by: Addition/subtraction of members Childhood stages Changes in family connections with social institutions Accomplish developmental tasks (learn to fulfill ?stage? expectations and responsibilities) within each ?stage.? 3. Structure-Functional The family is a social institution that performs essential functions for society. The family?s parts (members) work to maintain the survival of the family. 3 important manifest (intended) family functions to raise children responsibly (latent: control sexual activity) not having sex during adolescents to provide economic support (latent: keep children out of workforce) not make them get jobs to provide emotional security (latent: input culture, gender roles, etc.) how to have relationships, how to interact male headed single parent households have less female gender role ideas because no female lead Instrumental and expressive roles- women are the socialization for the children, rather than men. Outdated at this point because of the diversity of family structures nowadays. 4. Exchange Theory Rational, self interested people Because of this, want to maximize our profits Costs and rewards Reward: social approval, give them something for something in return (chores for something beneficial) People use their resources to bargain and secure advantage in relationships Exchange of costs and rewards among family members affect power, commitment, labor, etc. (maximize rewards, minimize costs) People stay in relationships only as long as it is more rewarding than costly. 5. Interaction-Constructionist Focus on the interactions between family members Reality is constructed Meanings are attached to activities, statements, or symbols Everyone has a role Norms = something you may see someone else doing, so you do it too Although we have shared roles/norms, each individual has their own experience = constructionist Develop: a self concept, an identity (father identity, student identity) 6. Family Systems Theory Emphasis on family as a unit (system) More than the sum of its parts Homeostasis = temperature gauge; always looking for a stable point Think of them in terms of interactions- if you take apart a watch, even though all the parts are there, it can?t tell you time. Rules- repeated pattern of interaction Boundaries- physical and emotional 7. Conflict and Feminist Central theme(s) Power, specifically unequal power; how is power distributed in couple and family relationships? Feminist perspectives focus on unequal power between the sexes Believe BOTH sexes should have equal political, educational, economic, and other rights. Mission To openly confront and end oppression of women and related patterns of subordination based on social class, race/ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation 8. Biosocial Perspective An individuals evolutionary biology affects much of her or his behavior as well as family related behaviors The interaction of ?nature? and ?nurture? Inclusive fitness The survival of one?s genes; genes will continue on Behavior is oriented to the survival and reproduction of other close kin as well as direct descendants 9. Attachment Theory In childhood, we develop ?styles of attaching? to others Developed in relation to primary care giver Strange Attachment research- mother leaves the room after being with child in the room to see how child reacts to mother leaving. Do they care? Do they cry? Do they immediately run to the door? Do they cry and then realize everything is going to be okay so they stop? 3 Styles of Attachment Secure Insecure Anxious Avoidant Scientific Investigation: Techniques Surveys Laboratory observation and experiments Naturalistic observation Case studies (family therapy, marital therapy) Longitudinal studies (multiple time points ~3) Historical and cross-cultural data (Stephanie Koontz)
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