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Family Studies: Various Approaches Essay (Article)

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Updated: Jun 14th, 2020

Family today is the focus of many subjects studied by various social sciences. Family is complicated and multidimensional. This creates dozens of different approaches and ways to view and study it. As a result, there are constant debates and discussions of the most appropriate perspectives on the subject of family. Since it is normally a group of people, family is studied from the perspective of social interactions between its members.

At the same time, family cannot be and should not be isolated from the outer world, as it takes part in various social relations and gets under the influence of many processes of local and global character. Besides, families today have wide diversity, they may belong to various social classes, ethnic and racial groups, cultures and religions, besides, family members and their relationships are influenced by such social factors as age, health status, sexual orientation and gender. The articles by Daly, McDowell and Fang explore various approaches towards studying family.

The first article reviewed for this paper is called “Family Theory Versus the Theories Families Live By”, it is written by Kerry Daly. The author of the article is interested in exploring family and its inner and outer relationships through the positive forms and negative spaces. Gender relationships, parenthood, divorce and domestic violence are positive forms of the study of family. There forms are easy to recognize, they are known for more or less basic number of factors, so these issues can be projected or predicted.

Negative spaces explored in the article are the sides and issues of the family that are not easy to perceive, the areas Daly is the most interested in are the factors of intuition, folklore and myth, activities of consumption and the time and space aspect of families (Daly, 772). The author of the article notes that theoretic studies of family and practice of family life are very different.

Many scholars do not realize it because of family connections and communication in their personal lives. It is also mentioned that in order to deal with family matters, a person must not rely on theoretic expert knowledge, but on personal experiences. Negative spaces in family studies occur because of lack of connecting brides between theory and practice. According to Daly, the focus and research of negative spaces in family sciences in crucial because it will allow the experts to change and improve the theory of family.

Daly suggests studying family through the perspective of culture, because it is a flexible and rapidly changing field, besides it contains such negative spaces as religion and belief. This negative space also includes the notions of feelings and emotions such as love, which is almost never viewed from the point of scientific approach. The negative space of consumption in the family is responsible for leisure, work, and professional self-identification. Thing a family owns shape it and its inner and outer relationships.

The article “Feminist-Informed Critical Multiculturalism: Considerations for Family Research” by McDowell and Fang is focused on studying family taking into consideration critical multicultural approaches. The researchers of this article conclude that this approach helps to make the connections between relationships within the family and its connections with sociopolitical structures.

This way family is not studied in isolation from all the processes that may influence it, but is viewed as a moving and developing subject. Flexibility of the notion of a family is the main obstacle for the scholars. McDowell and Fang believe that studying family within critical multiculturalism is one of the most objective ways of establishing awareness of multiple issues that occur within the family and raising conscious knowledge about its progress and impacts (563).

Multiculturalism allows viewing the subject of study within the power dynamics and various influences. This approach provides the scholars with diverse opportunities of revealing new aspects of this field. The authors of the article believe that theorizing of family as a study has been culturally influenced by the scholars exploring it. Basically, the practice of family study is changeable and diverse, but its theory is also shaped by the cultural background and values of the people that research it.

The subjects raised in both articles are very similar. Daly explores negative spaces of family study trying to find special approach to take into consideration abstract and indefinite factors, at the same time McDowell and Fang intend to identify the most flexible approach in order to study the most flexible subject so that the constantly moving and changing paradigm of family can be explored within the perspective of all the factors and influences that alter and shift it. This way is likely to help reduce negative spaces within the family studies and allow the scholars approach the aspects of family that have not been explored properly yet.

In conclusion, family is a rather difficult subject to explore. It undergoes various influences and creates multiple patterns. In order to be able to study it without ignoring its flexibility and the uniqueness the scholars developed approaches that would take into consideration as many factors that influence the family as possible.

Works Cited

Daly, Kerry. “Family Theory Versus the Theories Families Live By”. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65.4 (2003): 771-784. Print.

McDowell, Teresa, Sherry Fang. “Feminist-Informed Critical Multiculturalism : Considerations for Family Research”. Journal of Family Issues, 28 (2007): 549-566. Print.

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