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Sociology of Family: Control and Violence in Relationships Essay

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Control and Violence in Intimate Relationships by Michael Johnson

Johnson discusses the issue of violence in intimate relationships since research shows that many families have broken up mainly because of the aggressiveness of partners. In his view, Johnson underscores the fact that violence is used as a control mechanism in intimate relationships. He gives an example of one of the newly wedded individuals who engaged in violence to ensure that he has full control of the other partner. Violence in marriage is justifiable in many societies since it is believed that women are properties of men. However, some other partners do not use violence to control relationships, but instead, they employ it to achieve their interests. Johnson distinguishes between four basic types of violence in intimate relationships.

One of the types of violence is intimate terrorism, which takes place when the individual employing it seeks to control the other partner. In this form of violence, the individual is aggressive, as well as controlling, but the partner is not. Violent resistance is another form of intimate violence that arises in reaction to intimate terrorism. It takes place when an individual attempts to resist the actions of the aggressive partner meaning that the partner is violent and controlling, but the individual is not, even though he or she might be violent. Mutual violent control is the third type of violence that takes place in an intimate relationship whereby both partners tend to be violent while attempting to control each other. In the last type of intimate violence, situational couple violence, the individual might be violent, but the partner is not, even though the aspect of control is not present.

In many cases, the male partners would want to control the entire family, including children and even workers. He will always ensure that children give him maximum respect and they have to know that he is the head of the family. Johnson suggests that this is one way of instilling fear in the other partner. Some men force children to support their violent acts, leading to more conflicts in the family. Male partners in intimate relationships employ several strategies in intimidating women, one of them being isolation. They try as much as possible to keep their wives away from family decision-making hence rendering them irrelevant. For some men, they will ensure that they are the only source of money and information, an act that discriminates against the female partner further. As men continue frustrating their wives, they will accuse them of the existing state of affairs, yet they know that they are the main source of the problem. Since women would want to make themselves relevant in front of other members of the family, they will fight back. While some women will take legal courses to resolve the issue, some would simply take shortcuts by coming up with ways of killing the husband.

Johnson accuses an attempt by many researchers to justify the claims that women are too violent, just as men. He notes that such researchers tend to justify only the existence of a single type of violence, which is situational violence rather than intimate terrorism. The major question to ask is “does violence play any role as far as controlling the affairs of the family is concerned?

Grandparenting by Suzanne Bianchi and Lynne Casper

The two scholars note that family life in the United States is changing since marriage was considered something special in society meaning that it had to be undertaken at an early life, but the case is different in modern society. Before the Second World War, marriage was universal in the country implying the rules governing it were general and applicable to each group and community. Currently, the case is different since other forms of marriage are acceptable in several states. For instance, homosexual relationships are considered normal and are recognized in various states within the country. They further observe that the changing economic organization is to blame for the restructuring of family life in the country.

Modern society is more open-minded on issues related to living arrangements, family configurations, and standards of living. With improved health standards in the country, the old can continue enjoying their lives, but the young generation is threatened since birth rates are below par. While people can live longer, the young ones are not born because many people are cautious of the tough economic situation and they would not want their young ones to go through many problems. The fertility rate in the country is ever decreasing while life expectancy increases on yearly basis. Currently, lesbian and gay families are on the increase, with many analysts claiming that the situation affects the population growth of the country. The number of unmarried Americans in the 21st century is the highest and this is expected to affect the productivity of the future generation. The main question to ask would be “does the changing family patterns suit the needs of many Americans?

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Sociology of Family: Control and Violence in Relationships." March 18, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sociology-of-family-control-and-violence-in-relationships/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Sociology of Family: Control and Violence in Relationships'. 18 March.

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