interpretive approaches to the family

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  • Interpretivist approaches to the family
    • seesocial life as a continuous attempt to make sense of the world and reality is socially constructed.
    • seek to explore its role as one of the key groups within which we share our experiences of the social world and construct a shared version of reality.
      • see the damily as performing aimportant functions, but their concern is with the meaning of the family or the individual
    • Berger and Kellner: marriage and the construction of reality.
      • among the first sociologists to apply the interpretive approach to the family.
      • argued the individuals need to make sense of and create order in the world around them .
      • see marriage as a crucial relationship for the construction of reality. they create a shared view of their world and their relationship to others through daily interaction.
      • it is through the family that individuals find opportunity for self realisation.
      • when two people come together in marriage they must arrive at a common view of reality.
      • when children join the family they too become part of the process and are socialised into the family's way of looking at the world
    • KC Backett: becoming a parent.
      • much of his work is concerned with the role od the parents in the family and how these roles are defined and developed.
      • she points out how family is is a socialisation process for parents as well as children.
      • explores in some depth the image that parents have of their children and they way they make sense of them.
      • therefore, drawing on the interactionsts approach with its emphasis on exploring individuals' meanings and seeing the world through their eyes
    • David Clark: types of marriages.
      • in 1991, carried out a study of 50 couples in Aberdeen during the first few months of their marriage.
      • each given two in-depth interveiws.
      • distinguished four tyrpes of marriage.
        • Surfacing- at least one partner married before with previous children often being present.
        • Drifting- unclear about the future and tended not to make long term pland. lived from day to day.
        • establishing- consciously planned their future together, saving money to buy homes etc.
        • struggling- financial difficulties, usually because of unemployment, unplanned pregnancies etc. pessemistic about the future.
    • AO2
      • relatively new and promising direction. offer an understanding of family life as if experenced rather then looking at it as an abstract social institution.
      • emphasise the importance of individuals and their freedom to negotiate role and meanings in the family.
        • show how socialisation is a two-way process, with everyone learning from eachother.
      • tendancy to ignore the wider socail structure. (marxists and feminists) argue the way roles are constructed n the family is not merely a matter of individual negotiation, but a reflection of the way power is distributed in the wider society.


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