Assignment:Do one of the following:Interview a person 65 years of age or older.  Ask them to share their life story.ORwatch ONE  of these three movies:Mrs. Doubtfire with Robin Williams,Baby Boom...

Do one of the following:
Interview a person 65 years of age or older.  Ask them to share their life story.


watch ONE  of these three movies:
Mrs. Doubtfire with Robin Williams,
Baby Boom with Diane Keaton,
or Cheaper by the Dozen (if possible the original 1950’s version, if not the Steve Martin version).

1. In your posting discuss special attention to the importance of both work and family and how they interacted.  Mention at least three of the following themes, giving examples from the source you have chosen:

- preparation for work (education, training, experience, family example and influence), 
- work and the influence of race, gender, ethnicity, 
- culture etc on social status (especially on changes in social status), 
- how the interaction of work and family changed over the individual and the family life cycle. 

Your task is not to judge but to describe their experience in sociological terms.

Discuss their life experiences in terms of at least two of the big three theories: conflict theory, structural-functionalism, symbolic-interaction. How do these theories agree - and disagree - with the person's own interpretation of their work life. If you have chosen a person to interview you may ask them directly. If you have chosen a media, you may need to infer their beliefs from their behavior.

Use at least five of the key terms in your posting.  

Some Key Terms: (Remember to bold or underline the key terms you use, and to give page numbers where the term is referenced in the text).
Norms, roles, individual life cycle, family life cycle,  sequential life plan, career, boundaryless career, socialization, dead-end jobs, fringe benefits, entry ports, job ladder, role overload, role conflict, home production, income squeeze, flextime, work sharing, job satisfaction, alienation, anomie.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This assignment is really beyond the parameters here for one question. Perhaps, however, some suggestions can be made to assist in the assignment. Consider this description of a person's environment who is 65 years old, born in 1948 shortly after World War II, and you can apply the theories.

People born at this time are referred to as "Baby Boomers" because so many babies were born after American soldiers returned home. These children's parents were of the "Greatest Generation," a generation who survived the Great Depression, a generation who were patriotic, hard-working, and believed in the original American Dream of hard work paying off with success, and earning everything that one gets. This credo they passed on to their children, and the fathers worked anywhere from 8-16 hours a day so that their children could go to college and improve their lives beyond what their parents had had. Whether Democrat or Republican, these people in the 1950s tended to be relatively conservative in their homes and private lives. [This discussion pertains to the majority: 90% of the USA was white in the 1950s.]

When many of the Baby Boomers went off to college, they met people of other races and ethnic backgrounds as in the 1960s minority scholarships began. Also, they were exposed to the thinking of their professors, who were often liberal-minded, if not radical in political ideology (S.D.S. Bill Ayers, e.g. some were Communists). In the mid-1960s radical groups began to organize on college campuses:  groups such as the Students for Democratic Society, the Weathermen, hippies, and the Black Panthers were among them.

Because the Baby Boomers were gaining educations and exposed to new and different ideas and political ideologies, many felt that their parents were antiquated in their attitudes and political ideologies; consequently, they rejected the culture of their parents, and what they perceived as their compliance with government and societal forces as well as racial prejudice. When the Vietnam Conflict began, students on campuses throughout the United States protested against the war and the draft.

Notwithstanding their youthful rebellions, many of these college students entered the workforce and returned again to the traditional values which their parents had taught them, although some migrated to California and became "flower children" and others tried living in communes. The majority who joined the workforce yet believed in the "work ethic" promulgated by the Puritans of the seventeenth century. Then, a major social revolution occurred with the birth of the Civil Rights Movement and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. While this was a turbulent time in the civil history of America, there were many advancements made for minorities as it ended Jim Crow in the South and created many new government projects aimed at assisting minorities; it was also the time of many social programs intended to assist the poor. Certainly hope was born in the hearts of many who had suffered oppression. At the same time, however, some people were often kept from jobs as a quota system was established. [the woman and man consulted on this period of time were both told that they could not interview for certain jobs]

As government programs increased, so did taxes. After a prosperous fifties, the sixties, and especially the seventies, saw increases in taxes because of social programs and expense of war. More women, therefore, entered the workforce to support their families.