Provide three examples of how society shapes family life.

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Society determines what constitutes a family. In some cultures, a family includes a large extended family. On others, it is just the nuclear family. Does a family include same-sex couples? Friends? Adoption? People with similar views? Pets? Those are at least partly cultural determinations. I would argue that the definition...

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Society determines what constitutes a family. In some cultures, a family includes a large extended family. On others, it is just the nuclear family. Does a family include same-sex couples? Friends? Adoption? People with similar views? Pets? Those are at least partly cultural determinations. I would argue that the definition of family is changing or has changed throughout the years in the US.
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Society shapes family life in many different ways. It determines the social norms that we are all expected to follow. This defines how we interact with family, friends, co-workers, etc. Work is another issue here. The roles of women have changed over the years. Decades ago women generally stayed in the home. Today, most women work. This has completely changed family dynamics.

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I didn’t really see this on other posts, but society affects family in that the cost of living keeps going up, and parents (and even children sometimes) have to work longer and longer hours just to maintain the status quo. This cuts into time that families might be doing other things. Even the time families have together might be compromised by work obligations and other things put on hold during the work week.

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Society shapes our family lives in several way, three of which are:

1. Financially

2. Behaviorally

3. Intellectually (Cognitively)

 

Financially, society affects us by bombarding our families with suggestions for wants and needs that we may or may not be able to afford. These range from housing choices, to schooling choices for college, shopping options, places to go, and things to do for which we would have to invest from our budget. If this constant exposure did not occur, perhaps the family unit would make less biased decisions on how they would spend their dollars.

2. Behaviorally, society affects us by the dyadic division of individuals and groups by preferences, race, language, commonalities, religion, ethnicity, and preferences. If you live in a place where customs are nowhere like what you are used to, you will behaviorally choose to either join them or radically isolate yourself from the group. Since the latter is not the likeliest choice, chances are that in some way or another, regardless of how independently you live, you will still acquire one or two mannerisms from your immediate social circle such as accent, drawl, idioms, intonations, or customs.

3. Intellectually- What society offers us we either take or not. If society offers a higher quality of life where our quality is valued, we would make very high-thinking analyses on where we want society to go, and what role we play within it. We also would question how we can help improve the quality of our social strata, and we also would want to find benchmarks, philosophical foundations, and recent research that would help us make our surroundings both qualitatively and quantitatively sufficient for its residents.

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That is a great question. Society shapes not only family life, but almost every aspect of life. Since you ask about family life, here are three ways that society influences family life.

First, society defines categories. So, it defines what is family. Some cultures define family as father, mother and children. Other societies define families to include grandparents, aunts and uncles. So, the very definition of family is defined by society.

Second, what a family does is also defined by culture. Whether a family goes to the movies, plays board games, worships God, or goes shopping is also related to society.

Finally, society also influences roles within a family. Is the father in control? Is it the grandfather? Or is it the mother. The dynamic between family members is determined by society.

Please seek link on a great social theory.

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One aspect of society that has not been mentioned thus far is that of class.  The United States is theoretically a classless society, but that is far from the truth, and the class of the family one is born into often dictates outcomes for the family and the individuals in the family.  This is largely because socio-economic class of a family dictates its prioritites in everyday activities and longterm goals. A lower-class family, for example, has a daily struggle with the the lower needs on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, working to provide food, shelter, and warmth, living paycheck to paycheck.  For such families, eating dinner together or checking children's homework arenot the priorities they are in families that are middle or upper-class. This causes longterm goals such as education to be far more difficult to achieve than for those of other classes. The family's handling of health can be affected, as well, for instance in the need to buy cheap, filling foods that are not particularly healthy and avoiding medical care because there is no health insurance. A third effect is cultural, since no one has time or money to take children to plays, museums, or libraries.  This creates further obstacles to achieving any longterm goals, since in such a family, the children are competing with others who have reaped the benefits of this kind of enrichment. This daily struggle has a profound influence on the family. One book that discusses this struggle is Nickeled and Dimed, by Barabara Ehrenreich, and I have provided a link to the enotes materials on this book for you, if you are interested.

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A social order plays a formative role on family life.  A given culture or society helps to define what values families deem important.  If education, material acquisition, or spirituality hold specific values help to shape what the family deems as important.  At the same time, society helps to form family identity in terms of how the family will represent their own identities and senses of self.  Another example of how society shapes family life is that the varied nature of society in terms of representing what is and/ or what should be is something that families make a strong judgment for or against.  For example, if a society views one particular action or behavior as "incorrect," the family is poised in a situation where they must choose if they will accept society's judgment or if they will rebel against it and embrace such action or behavior.

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This, of course, differs from country to country and even by regions or different religions or social classes within a country.

Here are some examples from here in the United States:

  1. Societal expectations tend to define what jobs will be done by which family members.  It is unusual, for example, for the man in a family to do all the cooking.
  2. It is society that makes us get married formally.
  3. It is society that determines (largely) who will be included in our "family."  Here in the US, our family tends to consist just of our own nuclear family (and only until the children reach college age).

There are many others...

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