Family as a Social Institution
Who counts as family? A close examination of theoretical perspectives and ways in which researchers gather data allow for a better understanding of how families work. Chapter 1 looks broadly at the term family and its varying definitions and interpretations. Two important questions in the sociology of family are focused on 1. how family is defined (or, in practical terms, who counts as a family?) and, 2. how does the question of what is a family matter for everyday life?
When we consider how it matters, we look at ways in which family as an institution overlaps and interacts with other institutions, how and when family must fit formal definitions, and requirements in order for a family to be seen as legitimate. For this discussion, consider Peterson’s 2013 article, “The Lies That Bind” which addresses types of families that have been historically required to conform to traditional models.
Assignment starts here:
Using your own words, address the following:
1. Is our society so historically and thoroughly embedded with heteronormativity that this standard is applied reflexively and uncritically?
2. What is the result of heteronormative standards in family interaction and in situations of family evaluation?
3. Select one social theory and discuss how it explains heteronomativity within a society.