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Sociology of the family

Sociology of the family

Sociology of the family is the study of the family unit from a sociological viewpoint. The examination is dominated by social class. gender and ethnicity analysis. Further sociology of the family views the effect of social change on the family.

Included in this type of study are the number of children in the family, their relative age s, their racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, the economic level and mobility of the unit, the education levels of the family members, what spheres of life are important in and to the family unit, and all of the intereractions of the family unit, society, culture and with each other.

Sociology of families is also concerned with the diversity of family forms in contemporary societies in relation to ideology. gender differences. and state policies such as those concerned with marriage .

Sociology studies families and their formation, Sociology studies social change and trends surrounding the family such as,
* Increase in sole occupancy dwellings and smaller family sizes
* Average age of marriage being older
* Average number of children decreasing and first birth at later age
* The historical pattern of fertility. From baby boom to baby bust (instability)
* The ageing population. The trend towards greater life expectancy.
* Rising divorce rates and people who will never marry. [Bittman, M. and Pixley, J. (1997) "The Double Life of the Family, Myth, Hope and Experience". Allen and Unwin, Sydney. ]

Sociology of the family examines the changing roles of family members. Each member is restricted by the sex roles of the traditional family, these roles such as the father as the worker and the mother as the homemaker are declining, the mother is becoming the supplementary provider and she retains the responsibilities of child rearing. Therefore the females’ role in the labour force is “compatible with the demands of the traditional family”. [Ibid. Bittman (1997) ] Sociology studies the adaptation of the males role to caregiver as well as provider. The gender roles are increasingly interwoven.

* Extended family
* Family law
* Nuclear family
* Family (economics)

* [http://www.familyfacts.org Family Facts: Social Science Research on Family, Society & Religion ] (a Heritage Foundation site)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010 .

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Norbert Elias

Norbert Elias

Norbert Elias (June 22, 1897 — August 1, 1990 ) was a German sociologist of Jewish descent, who later became a British citizen.

His work focused on the relationship between power, behavior, emotion. and knowledge over time. He significantly shaped what is called process or figurational sociology. Due to historical circumstances, Elias had long remained a marginal author, until being rediscovered by a new generation of scholars in the 1970s, when he eventually became one of the most influential sociologists.

His late popularity can be partially attributed to the fact that his concept of large social figurations or networks explains the emergence and function of large societal structures without neglecting the aspect of individual agency. In the 1960s and 1970s, the overemphasis of structure over agency was heavily criticized about the then-dominant school of structural functionalism.

Elias' most important work is the two-volume The Civilizing Process (Über den Prozess der Zivilisation ). Originally published in 1939. it was virtually ignored until its republication in 1969. when its first volume was also translated into English. The first volume traces the historical developments of the European habitus. or "second nature," the particular individual psychic structures molded by social attitudes. Elias traced how post-medieval European standards regarding violence, sexual behaviour, bodily functions, table manners and forms of speech were gradually transformed by increasing thresholds of shame and repugnance, working outward from a nucleus in court etiquette. The internalized "self-restraint" imposed by increasingly complex networks of social connections developed the "psychological" self-perceptions that Freud recognized as the "super-ego ." The second volume of The Civilizing Process looks into the causes of these processes and finds them in the increasingly centralized Early Modern state and the increasingly differentiated and interconnected web of society.

When Elias' work found a larger audience in the 1960s, at first his analysis of the process was misunderstood as an extension of discredited "social Darwinism ," the idea of upward "progress" was dismissed by reading it as consecutive history rather than a metaphor for a social process.

The Quest for Excitement. written by Norbert Elias with Eric Dunning. and published in 1986 has proved a seminal work for the sociology of sport. and of football in particular. The Centre for the sociology of sport at the University of Leicester. England is host to a number of important sociologists who work on the Elias and Dunning tradition.

Biography Edit

Elias was born on June 22, 1897 in Breslau in Silesia to Hermann and Sophie Elias. His father was a businessman in the textile industry and his mother, as usual at the time, a housewife. After passing the abitur in 1915 he volunteered for the German army in World War I and was employed as a telegrapher, first at the Eastern front, then at the Western front. After a suffering nervous breakdown in 1917. he was declared unfit for service and was posted to Breslau as a medical orderly. The same year, Elias began studying philosophy. psychology and medicine at the University of Breslau. in addition spending a term each at the universities of Heidelberg (where he attended lectures by Karl Jaspers ) and Freiburg in 1919 and 1920. He quit medicine in 1919 after passing the preliminary examination (Physikum). To finance his studies after his father's fortune had been reduced by hyperinflation, he took up a job as the head of the export department in a local hardware factory 1922. In 1924. he graduated with a doctoral dissertation in philosophy entitled Idee und Individuum ("Idea and Individual") supervised by Richard Hönigswald, a representative of Neo-Kantianism. Disappointed about the absence of the social aspect from Neo-Kantianism, which had led to a serious dispute with his supervisor about his dissertation, Elias decided to turn to sociology for his further studies.

During his Breslau years, until 1925, Elias was deeply involved in the German Zionist movement, and acted as one of the leading intellectuals within the German-Jewish youth movement "Blau-Weiss" (Blue-White). During these years he got acquainted with other young zionists like Erich Fromm. Leo Strauss. Leo Löwenthal and Gershom Scholem. In 1925, Elias moved to Heidelberg. where Alfred Weber accepted him as a candidate for a habilitation (second book project) on the development of modern science, entitled Die Bedeutung der Florentiner Gesellschaft und Kultur für die Entstehung der Wissenschaft (The Significance of Florentine Society and Culture for the Development of Science ). In 1930 Elias chose to cancel this project and followed Karl Mannheim to become his assistant at the University of Frankfurt. However, after the Nazi take-over in early 1933. Mannheim's sociological institute was forced to close. The already submitted habilitation thesis entitled Der höfische Mensch ("The Man of the Court") was never formally accepted and not published until 1969. In 1933. Elias fled to Paris. His elderly parents remained in Breslau, where his father died in 1940 ; his mother was deported to Auschwitz. where she probably was killed in 1941.

During his two years in Paris, Elias worked as a private scholar supported by a scholarship from the Amsterdam Steunfonds Foundation. In 1935. he moved on to Great Britain, where he worked on his magnum opus, The Civilizing Process . until 1939. now supported by a scholarship from a relief organization for Jewish refugees. In 1939. he met up with his former supervisor Mannheim at the London School of Economics. where he obtained a position as Senior Research Assistant. In 1940. when an invasion of Britain by German forces appeared imminent, Elias was detained at internment camps in Liverpool and on the Isle of Man for eight months, on account of his being German (even as Jew). During his internment he organized political lectures and staged a drama he had written himself, Die Ballade vom armen Jakob (The Ballad of Poor Jacob ) (eventually published in 1987 ).

Upon his release in 1941. he moved to Cambridge. He taught evening classes for the Workers' Educational Association (the adult education organization), and later evening extension courses in sociology, psychology. economics and economic history at the University of Leicester. He also held occasional lectureships at other institutions of higher learning. While in Cambridge, he trained as a group therapist under the psychoanalyst Siegfried Heinrich Foulkes. another German emigrant, with whom he co-founded the Group Analytic Society in 1952 and worked as a group therapist.

In 1954. he moved to Leicester. where he became a lecturer at, and contributed to the development of, the University's Department of Sociology, until his retirement in 1962. At Leicester, his students included Martin Albrow and Anthony Giddens.

From 1962 to 1964. Elias taught as professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Ghana in Legon near Accra. After his return to Europe in 1965. he based himself in Amsterdam but travelled much as a visiting professor, mainly at German universities. His reputation and popularity grew immensely after the republication of The Civilising Process in 1969. From 1978 to 1984 he worked at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Bielefeld.

Elias was the first ever laureate of both the Theodor W. Adorno Award (1977 ) and the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences (1987 ).

Outside his sociological work he sporadically also wrote poetry and essays.

Elias died at his home in Amsterdam on 1 August 1990.

Books Edit

(In chronological order, by date of original publication)

  • 1939. Über den Prozeß der Zivilisation. Soziogenetische und psychogenetische Untersuchungen. Erster Band. Wandlungen des Verhaltens in den weltlichen Oberschichten des Abendlandes and Zweiter Band. Wandlungen der Gesellschaft. Entwurf einer Theorie der Zivilisation. Basel: Verlag Haus zum Falken. (Published in English as The Civilizing Process, Vol.I. The History of Manners. Oxford: Blackwell, 1969, and The Civilizing Process, Vol.II. State Formation and Civilization. Oxford: Blackwell, 1982).
  • 1965 (with John L. Scotson ): The Established and the Outsiders. A Sociological Enquiry into Community Problems. London: Frank Cass & Co. (Originally published in English.)
  • 1969. Die höfische Gesellschaft. Untersuchungen zur Soziologie des Königtums und der höfischen Aristokratie (based on the 1933 habilitation). Neuwied/Berlin: Luchterhand. (Published in English as The Court Society. Oxford: Blackwell, 1983).
  • 1970. Was ist Soziologie?. München: Juventa. (Published in English as What is Sociology?. London: Hutchinson, 1978).
  • 1982. Über die Einsamkeit der Sterbenden in unseren Tagen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Published in English as The Loneliness of the Dying. Oxford: Blackwell, 1985).
  • 1982 (edited with Herminio Martins and Richard Whitley): Scientific Establishments and Hierarchies. Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook 1982. Dordrecht: Reidel.
  • 1983. Engagement und Distanzierung. Arbeiten zur Wissenssoziologie I. edited by Michael Schröter, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Published in English as Involvement and Detachment. Contributions to the Sociology of Knowledge. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987.)
  • 1984. Über die Zeit. Arbeiten zur Wissenssoziologie II. edited by Michael Schröter, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Published in English as Time. An Essay. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991).
  • 1985. Humana conditio. Betrachtungen zur Entwicklung der Menschheit am 40. Jahrestag eines Kriegsendes (8. Mai 1985). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Not available in English).
  • 1986 (with Eric Dunning ): Quest for Excitement. Sport and Leisure in the Civilizing Process. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • 1987. Die Gesellschaft der Individuen. edited by Michael Schröter, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Original 1939, published in English as The Society of Individuals. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991).
  • 1987. Los der Menschen. Gedichte, Nachdichtungen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Poetry, not available in English).
  • 1989. Studien über die Deutschen. Machtkämpfe und Habitusentwicklung im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. edited by Michael Schröter, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Published in English as The Germans. Power struggles and the development of habitus in the 19th and 20th centuries. Cambridge: Polity Press 1996.)
  • 1990. Über sich selbst. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Published in English as Reflections on a life. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994).
  • 1991. Mozart. Zur Soziologie eines Genies. edited by Michael Schröter, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Published in English as Mozart. Portrait of a Genius. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993).
  • 1991. The Symbol Theory. London: Sage. (Originally published in English.)
  • 1996. Die Ballade vom armen Jakob. Frankfurt am Main: Insel Verlag (Drama, not available in English).
  • 1998. Watteaus Pilgerfahrt zur Insel der Liebe. Weitra (Austria): Bibliothek der Provinz (Not available in English).
  • 1998. The Norbert Elias Reader: A Biographical Selection. edited by Johan Goudsblom and Stephen Mennell, Oxford: Blackwell.
  • 1999. Zeugen des Jahrhunderts. Norbert Elias im Gespräch mit Hans Christian Huf. edited by Wolfgang Homering, Berlin: Ullstein. (Interview, not available in English).
  • 2002. Frühschriften. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Early writings, not available in English.)
  • 2004. Gedichte und Sprüche. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Translations of poems in English and French).

Norbert Elias. by Robert van Krieken, London: Routledge, 1998 ; La sociologie de Norbert Elias. by Nathalie Heinich, Paris: La Découverte, 2002 (in French).

External links Edit

Dr Richard Kilminster - Sociology and Social Policy - University of Leeds

Dr Richard Kilminster Honorary Research Fellow in Sociology

Although formally ‘retired’ and no longer teaching, I continue to write and publish. I also remain connected with the sociological community at Leeds and am available to students and researchers for consultation and discussion about their work. My intellectual development over the years has taken me into fundamental issues in sociological theorising and to the borderlines with philosophy, psychoanalysis and evolutionary biology, directions which continue to inspire my reflections. I also have an abiding interest in the teaching of sociology and in 2013 contributed a chapter on the origins of sociology entitled ‘Modernizing’ to an edited introductory textbook (Being Sociological listed below). I have been associated with the Figurational Research Network since the 1970s.

Since 2005 I have been closely involved, as Chair of the Editorial Advisory Group, in the production of the English edition of the Collected Works of Norbert Elias in 18 volumes for publication by University College Dublin Press in conjunction with the Norbert Elias Foundation. Amsterdam. I am sole editor of two of the volumes (EarlyWritings 2006 and The Symbol Theory 2011), co-editor of the three volumes of Essays (2008-09) and the revised edition of Elias’s magnum opus, Über den Prozess der Zivilisation, retitled as On the Process of Civilisation (2012) as well as the Interviews and Autobiographical Reflections (2013). The Collected Works were completed early in 2014, an occasion celebrated with an international conference at the University of Leicester on 20—22 June 2014 on the theme ‘From the Past to the Present and towards Possible Futures’, to which I presented a paper on the strengths and weaknesses of Karl Marx as a sociological pioneer.

Research Interests

The history of sociology; the Enlightenment; the sociology of philosophy; the sociology of knowledge; and the life and work of Norbert Elias, whose perspective offers in my view a powerful and testable synthesis of perspectives. I am currently researching further the 1840s as a turning point in the history of sociology; Alexis de Tocqueville as a founding writer of sociology; reevaluating the scientific stature of Karl Marx; ‘ostentatious’ v ‘unostentatious’ (Elias) contributions towards human knowledge; and the relationship between biography and the institutionalization of sociology.

Kilminster R. Praxis and Method (RLE: Gramsci) A Sociological Dialogue with Lukacs, Gramsci and the Early Frankfurt School ( Routledge. 2014 )

Kilminster RCJ. Collected Works of Norbert Elias, Volume 13, The Symbol Theory. ed. by Kilminster R ( Dublin. University College Dublin Press. 2011 ), 13

Kilminster RCJ. Norbert Elias: Post-Philosophical Sociology ( Routledge. 2007 ), xiii,209p

Kilminster R, Varcoe I. Culture, Modernity and Revolution Essays in Honour of Zygmunt Bauman ( Routledge. 2002 )

Kilminster RCJ. The Sociological Revolution: From the Enlightenment to the global age ( Routledge. 1998 ), 240p

Essay on Sociology and Family Members - 1644 Words

Sociology and Family Members

Family
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
Instructor: Sheila Farr
November, 12th 2012

The sociological institutions I have chosen for this paper is family. “The family is the first group of people with whom the child has contact, and they are the most important, especially in the early years. They provide food, shelter, care, education, and support. They describe and define the world to the developing child. They teach values, morals, and beliefs.” (Vissing, 2011) A person is defined by the family and they are taught how to live a certain way, but as they grow up society start to influence their decisions. In this paper I will evaluate the impact Sociological theories: Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism, will have on a family. How does each theory apply to the selected sociological institution? “The family is regarded as the most basic institution for all individuals because it is directly responsible for the care and protection of its members. The family consists of people who are biologically related but may also contain people with whom we live and people with whom we have close emotional bonds.” (Vissing, 2011) The way Functionalism applies to a family is functionalist sociologists developed an analysis which showed that the family had evolved into a superior form. Studies by Murdock, Goode, and others were able to show that the family, in changing its form, had been left free to concentrate on the most important functions. Parsons (1956) saw the two most important functions to be the socialization of the young and the stabilization of the adult personality. “The functionalist view of the family is the notion of ‘fit’. The isolated nuclear family was seen to be a good ‘fit’ for post-war American society. The family had been left free to make a good job of rearing the children, with more ‘professional’ parents working alongside teachers and childcare experts. The family was also able to concentrate on the demanding relationship between husband and wife. The family provided both the child and the adult with the physical and emotional support needed for their roles in society. It also provided the motivation to be successful in an industrial world which laid stress on achievement by individual effort. The functionalist account of the positive role of the family in society coincided with a period of strong public support for the American family. Berger and Berger (1983) argue that this was a period when the American family was seen as a success, particularly in the way it placed the needs of the individual at the heart of family life.” (Wilson, A, (1985) pg. 21) The way Conflict applies to a family is the conflict role can be intense and uncomfortable, as people feel forced to make choices between work and family. Relatives may be upset when major conflicts occurs such as “financial pressures and money management; trying to balance home, work, community, and personal responsibilities; infidelity; decision making and conflict resolution; dealing with health problems; addressing personal, educational, and occupational needs of family members; maintaining a home and household; dealing with substance abuse, crime, or domestic violence problems; co-parenting; divorce and stepfamilies; and dealing with aging parents.” A family shoulders a tremendous responsibility and usually requires assistance from others as a result. For some people work may come first and may be seen as a violation of the role of being a dedicated family member. Individuals may feel a sense of being "damned if I do, damned if I don't," no matter what they end up doing. Often work comes first because responsible adults feel that they cannot care for their family if they lose their job. When people feel important at work and home, they have a greater sense of generatively; when they do not feel valued or do work that isn't inherently meaningful, the feelings of stagnation and alienation occur. When people feel competent and happy, the.

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