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FAMILY SYSTEMS, FAMILY LIVES

FAMILY SYSTEMS, FAMILY LIVES
Authors, Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee in the chapter 7’s overview argue that at an institutional level the family maintains patterns of privilege and inequity and are intimately connected to other institutions in society such as the economy, the political system, religion and education.
Shaw and Lee’s journalistic writing style describe the family as part of a community where relationships are primarily built on blood ties with the obligation of raising children. In practically all societies, some form of ceremony takes place that permits the joining of assets between a man and woman creating a recognized unit called the family. They maintain that the family has all the characteristics of an organization with structure, finances, rules, a way to implement and teach the rules, as well as, a system for consequences when rules and structure are not followed.
The author uses sources such as the US Census Bureau and internet web sites to validate the global definition of family and how heads of families are formed. Also to confirm facts that “women are marrying later, informal unions are becoming more common, although birthrates are declining in all regions of the world, births to unmarried women have increased dramatically creating single family households, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Trans/Queer (LGBTQ) are forming families although not being recognized by some. Woman are living longer and in many countries more women are working who have children less than 3 years of age.”p355
Due to the changing family structure women are in the workforce boosting the economy more than ever. Creating jobs for others through the family’s need for daycare, work clothes and clothes for the family, the need for additional food, transportation, cosmetics, tutoring for the children because the family no longer has the time to build the info structure that once supported itself; Shaw and Lee’s contention that the family is intimately connected to other institutions in society and that patterns of privilege and inequity provide other institutions with revenue that without the number one consumer, “the family”, some institutions would no longer exist.
The article similarly included the dark side of the families’ institutional connection. That often the single parent family lives in conditions of poverty and foster care is called in to help. Describing the family as “Too Poor to Parent.”p361 Correctional, law enforcement agencies, unemployment offices and rehab centers just name a few negative institutions that impact the family. Family systems that were also negatively impacted were LGBTQ. Benefits that the traditional families, male and female union, would receive are not given to them due to governmental restrictions or institutionalized discrimination.
In conclusion, I selected this article because, although their persuasive writings demonstrate and establish the connections between family and “other” institutions; Shaw and Lee also showed that modern America no longer views getting marriage as the sole means to having a family and raising children.


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