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Summary: “Public and private families: an introduction” and “Public and Private Families: A Reader” by Andrew Cherlin Report


Introduction to the Sociology of Family

Cherlin states that public goods are things that people may enjoy without their contribution in the production process or acquisition (Cherlin, 2013a). According to him, families are public goods because they fit the definition. Some members enjoy them without having to pay. Private goods are those that the owners can exercise their private rights.

Therefore, families also fit the above definition according to Cherlin (2013a). Methods of data collection during research on families include surveys and observational studies (Cherlin, 2013a). Surveys are sometimes involving and expensive to carry out. On the other hand, a disadvantage of observational studies is the bias that the researcher may have.

The 1950s were anomaly for demographic trend in that the traditional choices of occupation, marriage, and children were constrained, with the series of traditional family roles being questioned (Cherlin, 2013a).

According to Cherlin, the trend after the 1800 was earlier marriages, fewer divorces that had a high fertility rate, with the 20th century having later marriage, increased cases of divorce, and single parenthood (Cherlin, 2013a).

A History of Family

Functions for the traditional families according to Cherlin include emotional support for the adults, socialization for children, and childbearing (Cherlin, 2013b). The Hispanics, Black Americans, and the American Indians are some of the minority groups in the US.

The family pattern for the Blacks includes high fertility rates compared to the average Americans, with the Indians and the Hispanics also displaying the same (Cherlin, 2013b). They also have lower divorce rates and single parenthood.

The types of marriages that exist in the US are as a result of the different cultures. They include monogamous, polygamous, open marriages, and interracial marriages (Cherlin, 2013b). Cancian’ data collection methods were observational and from secondary sources (Cherlin, 2013b).

Traditionally, ties that bound people in marriage and love were different from the current day. Emotional intimacy, love, and personal choice are the main reasons for marriage. People are allowed to make their own choices when entering a union according to Coontz (Cherlin, 2013b).

The industrial revolution brought about changes in family functions and ideologies. Interracial marriages became common with the family transforming into a tool for comfort and love. The fertility also improved with more children per marriage and restrictions being made to govern marriage.

Coupling

Charlin states that sexual identities are new and that they are determined by the society (Cherlin, 2013b). This means that the various roles of the individual determine their sexual identity in a given society, with this being different from the traditional outlook on the sexual identity.

Sexual activity outside marriage has largely been accepted in many societies today, with some of the factors contributing to the change in opinion being the societal view of marriage. More people are increasingly losing the original intention of marriage, with the marriage laws being negligent on the same.

There is a higher likelihood of younger women who bear children to have a greater risk of poverty. Some of the reasons include their dependence on other people for food, their inexperience at taking care of a family, and the low qualifications that they may possess to secure a source of income (Jor’dan, Wolf, & Douglass, 2012).

They are also more likely to stop education and end up not qualifying for important and paying jobs. Some of the changes in the college dating trends that Cherlin states include the increased number of teenage pregnancies, reduced age of sexual debut, and the reduced age of marriage (Morris, 2013). College students are dating at an earlier age, with the sexual activity reported to be high among these students.

Cherlin continues to state that marriage is still an important part of our society (Cherlin, 2013a). Some of the reasons for this include the ability of people in marriages to experience more support compared to those who are not. Marriage is also important in that the couple can contribute to the growth of the economy through the provision of workforce that also allows emotional comfort.

The marriage market can be compared to the labor market in a number of ways (Morris, 2013). Labor markets are meant to benefit individuals contributing to the same, and so is the marriage market. Both also have profits and losses. The participants are answerable to the other partner. There are also laws governing the two institutions. The laws are meant to streamline them.

Schwartz and Rutter explain the sociological and evolutionary psychological perspectives behind child bearing in families (Cherlin, 2013a). The main reasons are those passed on from generation to generation including for posterity and to ensure continuity of the species. Other reasons for childbearing include the desire for personal fulfillment and companionship (Garst et al, 2013).

A society often constructs sexuality. An example includes the age at which people are allowed to engage in sex. Different societies have different ages based on the adult age for that society. Rape in marriage is also another value that has recently been outlawed in certain societies. However, some societies have no consideration since the partners have such rights if they are married.

Some of the reasons for prolonging cohabitation instead of marriage for some couples include the poor resources that they may have, unstable careers, difficulty in getting to know each other, and religious factors (Cherlin, 2013b). Man is considered the traditional breadwinner in marriages.

This influences the decision of some of the couples who are dating to enter the marriage institution. When the man in a relationship secures a good career, the lady considers this to be a secure future in which to bring up children and/or support the family, and hence the need to get into marriage. On the other hand, men who do not have secure careers are not considered able to bring up a family.

Cohabitation for couples involves living together in the same house even without marriage. Some couples may choose to live apart while together due to the societal view of marriage once couples start living together. Other reasons include the difference in carriers and the desire to abstain from sex until marriage. The size of an ethno racial group is a significant factor determining the prevalence of intermarriage and segregation.

Larger groups are more likely to intermarry with other groups while the smaller groups are more likely to segregate themselves with the desire to maintain their identity, which may be under threat from intermarriage (Morris, 2013). Larger groups also have a higher likelihood of interaction with other groups.

Some of the factors influencing who we could couple with include character, occupation, age, race, language, and personal preferences among others.

Family Formation

Children and parents have a special relation. According to Cherlin, parents are supposed to train their children on the various responsibilities, provide food and shelter for them, as well as providing love and care (Cherlin, 2013a).

Adoption has changed in the US, with the adoption laws making it easier for parents to adopt local and foreign children. The children in the US are better than they were before based on the way they receive the best of education, medical care, and social support. They are also protected by the various local and international laws.

Young women’s view of marriage in “unmarried with Children” is described as being negative. These ladies prefer getting children and bringing them up alone (Cherlin, 2013b). This affects their life choices. They end up getting pregnant at an early age.

The most effective strategy for attenuating the probability of pregnancy in these teen is the provision of basic education. Fragile families according to McLanahan are those that are on the verge of collapsing and/or without the family bond (Cherlin, 2013b). Two significant differences between the married and unmarried today include the social fulfillment and the ability to bring up families and/or withstand stresses.

Childhood and the road to adulthood have significantly changed over the last few decades. Children are increasingly exposed to the adult materials at a younger age, with sexual debut also being lower (Davies, & Robinson, 2013).

The traditional responsibilities in the road to adulthood have also reduced. Birth control has contributed to the formation of smaller family units, with people being able to plan for family size (Bogenschneider et al., 2012). This has been beneficial in planning for the available resources.

Reference List

Bogenschneider, K., Little, M., Ooms, T., Benning, S., Cadigan, K., & Corbett, T. (2012). The Family Impact Lens: A Family-Focused, Evidence-Informed Approach to Policy and Practice. Family Relations, 61(3), 514-531.

Cherlin, J. (2013a). Public and private families: an introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Cherlin, J. (2013b). Public and Private Families: A Reader, 7th Ed. New York. McGraw-Hill.

Davies, C., & Robinson, H. (2013). Reconceptualising Family: Negotiating Sexuality in a Governmental Climate of Neoliberalism. Contemporary Issues In Early Childhood, 14(1), 39-53.

Garst, A., Baughman, S., Franz, K., & Seidel, W. (2013). Strengthening Families: Exploring the Impacts of Family Camp Experiences on Family Functioning and Parenting. Journal Of Experiential Education, 36(1), 65-77.

Jor’dan, R., Wolf, K., & Douglass, A. (2012). Strengthening Families in Illinois: Increasing Family Engagement in Early Childhood Programs. Young Children, 67(5), 18-23.

Morris, K. (2013). Troubled families: vulnerable families’ experiences of multiple service use. Child & Family Social Work, 18(2), 198-206.

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IvyPanda. "Summary: “Public and private families: an introduction” and “Public and Private Families: A Reader” by Andrew Cherlin." December 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/summary-public-and-private-families-an-introduction-and-public-and-private-families-a-reader-by-andrew-cherlin/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Summary: “Public and private families: an introduction” and “Public and Private Families: A Reader” by Andrew Cherlin." December 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/summary-public-and-private-families-an-introduction-and-public-and-private-families-a-reader-by-andrew-cherlin/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Summary: “Public and private families: an introduction” and “Public and Private Families: A Reader” by Andrew Cherlin'. 28 December.

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