Study Questions: Chapter 14
1. What are the nuclear family and the extended family? What are the differences between simple and complex households? What are the relationships between these two pairs of terms?
Answer: A nuclear family includes a parent or parents and children and an extended family might include, in addition, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. A simple household consists of unrelated (by blood) adults with or without children. Conversely, a complex household includes “two or more adults who are related but not married to each other and hence could reasonably be expected to live separately” (2003). A simple household tends to consist of a single adult or married adults living with or without children; the most common example of a complex household today is one in which adult children live at home with a parent or parents. (pp. 365–366)
2. What has happened to divorce rates in Canada since 1968?
Answer: In 1968, the grounds for divorce were expanded in most of Canada: no longer was adultery the sole basis to sue for divorce. Between 1968 and 1971, the number of divorces in Canada shot up from 11,343 to 29,685, representing rates of 54.8 and 137.6 per 100,000. (p. 370)
3. What are segregated and joint marital roles? Provide examples of each.
Answer: In segregated marital roles, tasks, interests, and activities are clearly different, and in joint marital roles, many tasks, interests, and activities are shared. As an example of the continued existence of segregated roles: married women do more total work per day than married men do, even though married women are more likely to do part-time paid work. Married women, especially those who are the mothers of small children, do much more unpaid work than married men do. And while women have entered new roles in the work world, men have not gone as far in entering new roles at home. (p. 377)
4. What are endogamy and exogamy? Provide examples of each.
Answer: Endogamy means “marrying within.” It is the practice of marrying someone of the same ethnic, religious, or cultural group as oneself. The opposite of endogamy, marrying outside of one’s group, is exogamy. Support for exogamy, once quite low in Canada, is increasing. (p. 379)
5. What are some of the impacts of the recent trends regarding childbirth in Canada?
Answer: The number of women in their thirties giving birth for the first time is increasing. In 1987, just 4 per cent of women aged 35 and older gave birth for the first time; in 2005, the percentage rose to 11 per cent. Likewise, women in their early thirties giving birth to their first child increased from 15 to 26 per cent over the same period. As well, the proportion of couples living with children has been surpassed by the proportion of couples living without children. In 2011, couples with children made up 39.2 per cent of all census families, while couples without children accounted for 44.5 per cent. (pp. 370, 372)
6. How does the fact that conjugal roles are gendered affect men and women differently with regard to issues like employment and domestic labour?
Answer: The fact that conjugal roles are gendered has created an imbalance in conjugal roles, leading some sociologists to use such terms as “double burden,” “double ghetto” (Armstrong & Armstrong 1978), or “second shift” (Hochschild & Machung 1989). The difficulty of correcting this imbalance in households with small children has led some women to conclude, pessimistically, that “childlessness is the easiest route to equality” (Beaujot 2002). (p. 377)
7. How has the Canadian state impacted immigrant families and Aboriginal families in the past few decades?
Answer: There is a history in Canada of the federal government policies designed to deprive racialized minorities of family. The prohibitively expensive head tax levied on immigrants from China and South Asia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries made it impossible in many cases for married couples or their families to reunite in Canada. The Aboriginal family also has long been a target of federal policy. The Sixties Scoop was a program, which began in the 1960s, of removing large numbers of Aboriginal children from their families, their communities, and the Aboriginal world. Children could be taken from their families by government-affiliated agencies for a variety of reasons: some were children of parents judged to be alcoholics, some were newborns needing hospital care taken to the nearest city (and in many cases never returned), some were living in crowded or “sub-standard” homes. (pp. 381–387)