Exercise #16

Soc.100 / Hicks Marlowe
Discussion Exercise #16
The Family (Chap. 16)
Note Taker:
Group Members: (5 pts.each)
1. Identify the main idea(s) of the following terms: (Provide examples where possible)
(a) exogamy versus endogamy
(b) nuclear versus extended family
(c) patriarchy versus matriarchy
(d) patrilineal versus matrilineal versus bilineal system of descent
(e) polygyny versus polyandry
(f) family of procreation versus family of orientation
(g) homogamy
(h) the empty nest and adultolescents
2. The text argues that it is difficult to arrive at a consistent, general definition of the concepts
“marriage” and “family.” Why? Provide examples illustrating the problems of definition.
3. Compare the functionalist, conflict theory, and symbolic interaction perspectives on marriage and the
family. That is, identify main concepts and/or processes each considers important, empirical trends
they identify, etc.
4. Compare African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American families. Identify any
features that characterize the different experience of each. In what way(s), if any, is the issue of
social class relevant to these differences? Which groups have the highest and lowest rates of
5. The American family has changed significantly during this century. Identify historical trends for the
following areas:
(a) age at marriage
(b) cohabitation
(c) single parent and childless parents
(d) the “sandwich” generation
6. Identify some of the main factors that affect whether marriage and family experience will be negative
(e.g., divorce, violence, dissatisfaction) or positive (e.g., stable, nonviolent, satisfied).
7. The extent to which parents influence their children’s choice of marital partner varies considerably in
different cultures (e.g., from completely prearranged to no formal intervention). However, even in
cultures like the United States where marital choice is ideally based on romantic attraction and
completely up to the potential partners, parents may engage in a range of influence tactics to
influence who their children date or marry.
(a) What do you see as the main pros(if any) and cons of prearranged marriages?
(b) In your own experience, what attempts (subtle and not so subtle) have your parents made to
influence your romantic choices, and what effects have they had on your choices?
8. The rate of cohabitation (living together in a sexual relation without marriage) has increased radically
within the past 40 or so years.
(a) Why do you think this increase has occurred?
(b) What do you feel are the main advantages and disadvantages of living together before marriage?
9. A number of researchers are pessimistic about the future of American marriage and family. Given
the text information presented on marriage, divorce, and remarriage rates, what conclusions would
you draw? Use illustrative data to support your position.
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