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What is meant by the idea that race, class, and gender are interactive systems rather than individual variables? Think about your own family of orientation, and take one particular aspect of your family life as an example. Discuss briefly how race, class, and gender act simultaneously to shape that aspect of your family life. Race, class, and gender are all interactive systems because they are all strongly connected and relate to one another and determine how we view society and what our upbringing is like. For example, the financial state of your family can separate one’s upbringing from that of another. When I was young both my parents worked full time and while we didn’t have a lot of luxuries, we did have life essentials such as food and shelter. This would be opposite of some of my other friends and family, who had parents that made much more money so as a result, they could afford much nicer things and do a lot more and provide life essentials. Page 29, Question #4: Most people agree that marriages and families underwent major changes during the last half of the twentieth century; however, few people link these changes to larger societal changes that have taken place. Identify some of the major changes that have taken place during the past 50 years (for example, in transportation, technology, and social welfare policies), and discuss their impact on contemporary marriages and families.

Reflect on your own family and consider how one such change has affected your family and/or families like yours. One major change that has occurred within the last fifty years is the uprising popularity of social media. Many people have accounts on Facebook and can communicate with people all over the world easily. While this is great for those who wish to keep in contact with friends, family, old classmates, etc. it has been shown that Facebook has been one of the leading causes of divorce in marriages. Divorce never has a good effect on the family dynamic. Also the children have become subject to horrible things such as cyberbullying as well. Facebook has definitely revolutionized communication and can be fun and convenient when it is used properly. My family has always been close knit and no matter where we are in the world we are always able to actively keep in contact thanks to communication means such as Facebook. Page 57, Question #1: Why do sociologists need different theoretical perspectives to explain marriage and family behavior? Why isn’t one perspective sufficient? The reason why one perspective is not sufficient in sociology is because there are all kinds of different perspectives that can explain and describe a certain subject and there are too many different types of opinions, variables, situations, etc. to only have one type of theoretical perspective in sociology. Page 57,

Virtually every practical decision you make and every practical opinion you hold has some theory behind it. Consider any marriage and family behavior or event of interest to you. Develop a “mini theory” to explain the behavior or event. What are some of the major assumptions you make about human beings, society, marriages, families, women, and men? Is your theory a micro or macro level explanation? Which one of the theoretical perspectives or theory models does your theory most resemble? After you have developed your mini theory, consider that you or some researcher wants to test it. What kinds of questions might you ask? Which research methodology would be most appropriate to test your theory? Why? One event that is of interest to me is the rise in divorce due to social media websites such as Facebook. I believe that one of the primary reasons that these divorces are occurring is mainly due to feelings such as jealousy. One thing that people need to understand is there is no reason someone who is married should be looking for and communicating with their high school sweet heart, the wife or husband has every right to be jealous and angry. Any type of communication with people other than friends and family on social media will undoubtedly bring trouble into a marriage.

I believe that my theory is a macro explanation that resembles a normative perspective, in that certain social rules need to be followed so that order can be maintained within the family. Some examples of questions I might ask would be what exactly happened on the social media network that resulted in the divorce and how many times did it occur. I think that the scientific method of research would be the best because it would give me data and evidence that could be confirmable by one or two sources. Page 57, Question #4: As discussed in this chapter, marriages and families today are faced with a myriad of challenges such as home foreclosures, unemployment, violence, poverty, and racism. If you were a member of a team charged with developing social policy pertaining to American families, what aspect of family life would you focus on, how might you research the topic, and what kind of policy(ies) might you suggest to policy makers?

If I were a member of a team charged with developing social policy pertaining to American families, one major aspect of family life I would focus on would be the housing of families. I would research things such as the unemployment and homelessness rates of American families, reasons for unemployment and homelessness, as well as programs that are currently made available to these families that actually help. One policy I would recommend is a policy that makes food, shelter, and employment more attainable for every demographic of homeless and unemployed family members. I would also try to combine the programs that have high rates of success and make them more readily available for those in need.

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