A theoretical perspective is a hypothetical explanation of a fact. There are many theoretical perspectives on the family as an institution. The perspectives may or may not complement each other.
We will write a custom Research Paper on Choices and Theories: Theoretical Perspectives of the Family and Mate Selection specifically for you
807 certified writers online
Theoretical Perspectives of the Family
The family ecology perspective revolves around looking at how a family influences the surrounding environment and how it is influenced by it. Society does not affect the behavior of the family members but it presents limitations and interferences the same way it does with possibilities and opportunities. How a family lives are affected by educational, economic, religious and cultural institutions (Lamana and Reidman, 2005).
The family development perspective emphasizes the family as a unit of analysis. It states that families experience predictable changes over time.Its key concepts are family life cycle, developmental tasks, on-time transitions, and sequencing of roles.
The structural-functional perspective views the family as a social institution that performs important functions in society. Family structure varies according to the society it is in. The extended family existed in traditional societies while nuclear families are dominant in modern societies. The function of a family is to raise and socialize children responsibly as well as provide economic assistance and emotional security (Lamana and Reidman, 2005).
An integrationist perspective emphasizes interaction. It focuses on gestures, actions and talks that go in the family. It examines people who act in awareness of others. It does not identify a standard family structure. Its central concept is self-awareness. This involves feelings, abilities and self-worth. Each family is different and behavior does not have a single meaning.
The exchange theory perspective has an economic inclination to social relationships. It focuses on a persons resources such as education, income, and personality influence in a relationship. It states that people use their resources to get an advantage in their relationships. This in turn shapes power and authority in the family. Rewards and costs which influence the family could be either material or non-material.
The utility exchange perspective is subject to criticism in that it assumes human nature as rational but unrealistic about the function of love and responsibility. Emotions and commitment which make one concerned about his or her couple’s happiness are also considered (Lamana and Reidman, 2005).
The family systems theory looks at the family as a whole entity. The family functions in a way such that behavior and emotional expression are always a priority. Family boundaries and closeness or farness between family members are important in this perspective.
Conflict and feminist perspectives state that not all that happens in the family is good. Something that may be good for one family member may not be good for another. Interaction in the family can entail domestic violence and rituals on a day. It calls for attention to unequal power in the family for example in distribution of household chores between family members. The feminist perspective centers on gender issues. It looks at male dominance and oppression of women in society (Lamana and Reidman, 2005).
The role of religion, geography and social status in mate selection
Issues such as religion, geography, social status and race influence mate selection. People from one religion tend to choose a mate from their religion. The same applies to social class, race and ethnicity. Men and women tend to choose mates who are physically attractive. Culture influences how people view beauty. People prefer values such as dependability, sociability, intelligence and stability of potential mates. People may choose mates from different religions, age groups, religions, races, or social classes to improve their social class or to obtain rewards and minimize costs (Kenrich and Agnes, 2005).
There are other important factors about mate selection and dating. What one brings to a marriage is an important consideration when selecting a mate. Marriage age differs from society to society. Both traditional and modern cultures determine dating for instance free choice compared to arranged marriages. Another factor that may determine mate selection could be the open courtship system common in western countries.
Kenrich, S.T., & Agnes, R. (2005). Study Guide for Lamanna and Riedmann’s Marriages And Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Lamana, M., & Reidman, A. (2005). Marriage and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society. 9th ed. Belmont, CA: Thompson/Wadsworth.